On July 15th, Portland’s own Journey Newson will square off against Anthony Zender for the CageSport Bantamweight title at the Emerald Queen Hotel and Casino in Tacoma, Washington. The two fought this past December with Newson coming out victorious and snapping the 6-fight win streak of Zender. Zender will undoubtedly be looking to exact some revenge on Newson while walking away with the belt. For Newson, this will be the first title shot of his professional career, and he aims to make a successful one by securing another stoppage victory over his veteran opponent.
Journey Newson has been on a very successful run since suffering his first loss this past October. Since the loss, he has secured back-to-back submission wins under the CageSport banner and most recently won his match at Submission Underground 4 by heal hook in regulation. His skills on the mat have evolved a great deal over the last two years and training with the team at Impact Jiu-Jitsu has made him one of the most competitive purple belts on the local scene. I had a chance to talk to Newson about his upcoming title fight and how he sees it playing out. For Newson, anything less than a finish is unacceptable.
“I am looking to finish this fight, and finish it a lot faster than the last time. The last fight he won the first round, I devastated him with ground and pound in the second round, and then in the third he shot in and I caught him with the guillotine. This time I just want to get the finish faster.”
With his recent string of submission victories, Newson also wanted to be clear that he isn’t just going in there hunting for the submission, he wants to show off his striking too.
“I really want to get in there and work some standup in this fight. You know, I had my last two fights finished with the sub. Then I took some time off from boxing to prepare for Submission Underground. I really want to show some hands in this fight, definitely show some boxing.”
More than anything, Newson just wants to fight and he knows that his opportunities at bantamweight might be limited, even with the belt around his waist. He expressed to me that he isn’t sure whom he would face next at 135lbs should he win the belt. Two things are certain though: he is perfectly fine with moving up to fight at 145lbs if he has to, and fighting at 125lbs is not going to happen. To use his own words, “Cutting to 125 would suck.”
Winning this title fight would put Newson in a new position in his professional career. There would be a huge target on his back and he wants nothing more than to keep that target squarely between his shoulders. He plans on heading north to Seattle to try and train with UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, then head down south to train with Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. He is clearly ready for the pressure of being a champion and he expects that journey to begin on July 15th.