At just 1-0, Justin Doege is ready to take over Canada’s heavyweight division.
Doege will look to begin proving he belongs at the top Friday night when he takes on Craig Hudson (5-6) for the vacant XFFC heavyweight title at XFFC 20 in Grande Prairie, Alta.
Doege, 25, said he’s thrilled to earn a title shot so early in his career, and views it as the perfect opportunity to show why he’s among the best in Canada.
“I feel pretty lucky to get the title shot, but at the same time I think I can beat anyone in Canada,” said Doege in an interview.
“Top ten, top five, it doesn’t matter. I rank myself right up there with those guys.”
Although he’s only had one professional fight, Doege, fighting out of Kelowna, B.C., said it certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying.
After storming through his amateur career with a 3-1 record, including three first round finishes, Doege said no one wants to fight him.
“In this game, you learn that a lot of people want to be fighters, but they don’t want to fight,” said Doege.
“I’m one of Canada’s youngest heavyweights coming up now and it’s kind of an older man’s division. This is the new breed and no one wants a piece of it.”
Doege picked up right where he left off his amateur career in his professional debut in July, scoring a first round knockout by head kick of Justin Schmit at XFFC 18.
And although Hudson has proven he can take a punch, Doege envisions yet another quick finish in his favour Friday night.
“It’ll be a knockout in the first or second round,” said Doege.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s on the feet or on the ground. He’s a boxer, but I feel my boxing is better. There’s not a place in this fight where I give him the advantage.”
Hudson Beaming With Confidence
Although Doege’s confidence is high coming into this bout, Hudson is riding his own wave of positivity coming in as well.
Hudson’s coming off an impressive first round TKO of Jared Kilkenny at Rumble in the Cage 58, and followed that up with two victories in the boxing ring.
“I’ve been really working on my ground game with a world champion here in Ontario too. Everything’s really coming together,” said Hudson in an interview.
“Turning vegan this past year has kept all the bad weight off me and I run 15 kilometres every three days, so my cardio’s through the roof. I’m ready.”
Although numbers don’t mean anything when the cage door closes, it’s hard to ignore the 19-year age difference between Hudson and Doege.
Hudson, 44, said although 10 years down the road his age may play a factor, he currently feels the best he ever has.
“I don’t think these younger guys are any better than me at my age. I don’t find it in the training camps, I don’t find it in the sparring, and I don’t find it in the fights,” said Hudson.
“It’s just another number.”
This won’t be Hudson’s first kick at the can when it comes to a title fight, having won and successfully defended the Fivestar Fight League heavyweight title back in 2013.
But despite already having the glory of being a champion, Hudson, fighting out of Brantford, Ont., said it would be a whole different feeling to repeat that accomplishment in his forty’s.
“For my age, this shouldn’t even be happening. I’m hoping I can be an inspiration to people my age that they can still do it at this stage of their career,” said Hudson.
“Anything from here on in is a bonus. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
“I’d like to thank my two main sponsors Centra Windows Exteriors and Restorations, and Treeline Well Services. I’d also like to thank everybody at Toshido MMA.”
“I’d like to give a shoutout to Black Eye Boxing Club, and Shane Mountney.”