Boxing’s Biggest Loser

Boxer Johnny Greaves fought 100 professional fights throughout his career and lost 96 of them – and he’s proud of it.

As a journeyman, Johnny was essentially an opponent for hire. Promoters would pay him - generously - to fight their upcoming prize fighters helping them cut their teeth on the circuit, build their confidence and get some wins under their belt. “No one told you to lose as such,” Johnny told us, “but your just a cog in the wheel for these home fighters building their record.”

For every winner, there’s got to be a loser - and I was that loser. But I got paid pretty well for it.
— Johnny Greaves

It’s also not in the interest of journeymen to win their matches. It deters promotors booking you, and in some cases can cause you to lose gigs you’ve already got in the diary. As a journeyman, Johnny took home over £1000 a fight compared to many boxers who struggled to break even from box office takings.

However, whilst occupying the so-called away corner came with its benefits - like higher pay - it also took its toll physically and mentally. In this week’s episode of Benched, Johnny gives boxing expert and sports writer, Mark Turley, a no-holds-barred account of his time in the ring. Listen to his story here.

Want to find out more about British boxing and the journeyman tradition? This weeks guest host, Mark Turley, wrote about in this Telegraph article and his book Journeyman.