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Understanding Journeymen: with Lewis van Poetsch

Lewis van Poetsch took a break from his busy boxing schedule to talk to Southpaw Jab’s George Storr about his love for boxing and the importance of journeymen in British boxing.

Lewis van Poetsch, 7-63-1 (1), is one of Britain’s most remarkable journeymen. He served in the Army in Afghanistan and now travels the UK as one of the circuit’s most skilful and entertaining road warriors. Styling himself on fighters of old he enters the ring in a robe and flat cap with a large moustache and accompanying 50’s backing track.

Lewis ‘Poochi’ van Poetsch loves to entertain a crowd and, despite his mountain of losses, has clear boxing ability. He’s taken many prospects the distance, boxed against big names and not been stopped in 15 appearances. He spoke to Southpaw Jab about his career and the importance of journeymen:

“When I turned pro I turned over as a ticket selling prospect I managed to do quite a few tickets. I was representing the army so I used to come in dressed in an army beret and an army jacket and I used to have my regimental instrument, my regiment was the rifles and our regimental instrument was a bugle. So I had buglers that would bugle me into the ring! It was really good, the army really looked after me, but eventually I decided I didn’t want to go back to being a soldier so I just decided to pursue the boxing and that’s when I decided to stop selling tickets and go on the road.”

On the role of journeymen within the sport of boxing, van Poetsch was clear on their importance: “We are the backbone of boxing. Because without us there’s no lads coming through, there’s no lads that are learning their trade and go onto bigger and better things. We keep the small halls running, as well as some of the big shows and we get our props from people in the trade but no one outside of boxing will ever understand what a journeyman is and what we do and why we do it.”

“Obviously I work in a barber shop and my customers say ‘oh you’re a boxer! What’s your record?’ and when I tell them they say ‘oh bloody hell you must be crap!’ and I have to try and explain and break it down to people, how and why I do it. Without journeymen there’s no small hall shows, there’s no prospects learning the trade and yeah, we’re an essential part of the boxing industry in my opinion and I’m proud to say I’m a journeyman.”

“Poochi” is an incredibly popular figure on the small hall scene.

Van Poestch is well aware, too, that he’s climbing the journeyman ranks and beginning to catch eyes as one of the circuit’s best value away fighters: “Without sounding like I’m cocky or anything I’d put myself up there as one of the best ones in the country these days, because there’s a way to lose a fight but do well and come out the other end,” he says, adding with a smile “I was never the sharpest tool in the box anyway but I’ve still got all my faculties touch wood and I’ll still be able to walk and read and write.”

Currently his career goal is to reach 100 fights in the sport and ‘Poochi’ has no plans to leave boxing any time soon. His next appearance comes this Friday at Bristol’s Dolman Exhibition Hall, as he takes on undefeated prospect Aaron Sutton. Keep your eyes peeled for an entertaining and often underestimated journeyman.

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