With a win on Saturday night, Lucas Neufeld knows exactly what he wants next.
Although he’s not looking past Johnson by any stretch, Neufeld, 26, said a win over an opponent of Johnson’s calibre would show he’s ready to have a go at the vacant Fight Night featherweight title.
“After a win on Sept. 28, I think I will have proved my case that I’m a contender, I’m a winner, and that I should have a belt on,” said Neufeld in an interview.
Neufeld will first have to get through the toughest test of his career in Johnson, who comes in riding a four-fight win streak, all of which were first round knockouts.
His original opponent for Saturday night was Jo Petahtegoose, a brawler, who ended up pulling out due to a knee injury suffered in training.
Next to the plate was James Gonzalez, a jiu-jitsu specialist under Matt Serra. Unfortunately, Gonzalez also suffered an injury, forcing him out of the bout.
Enter Johnson, a dangerous striker and hopefully the last stop on the opponent carousel for Neufeld before fight night.
“The styles are all different and I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for each of these guys,” said Neufeld.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but that’s the challenge fight camp has brought me this time around. It will be a fight. My team has come up with the game-plan to beat this guy. Fighters gonna fight.”
Winning and Learning
Neufeld is coming off a unanimous decision win over Gagan Gill at Fight Night 9 in January, the biggest win of his professional career.
While the win was the main positive from that night, Neufeld said the biggest thing he learned from that fight and fight camp was the value of studying your opponents.
“There was a few times when I think I got lucky in that fight where I slipped some punches that I just knew were coming because I watched his tendencies.”
“His lead left hook there, he opened with that and closed with it. He would open a combination and just throw it out there.”
As is the case with any of Neufeld’s fights taking place in Lethbridge, an army of fans is expected to be in attendance, loud and proud as always.
Neufeld said he’s expecting an even larger mass of his fan base in attendance, further increasing the energy he receives on his walkout.
“I expect to have full support there. They’ll be respectful to the opponent for sure; it never gets nasty. It never gets hostile by any means,” said Neufeld.
“It’s just energy. Everyone in there is a part of it, it’s vibrating, and when they’re saying your name, part of it’s kind of strange, but you just have to own it. Just own that moment.”
“I’d like to thank all my teammates from Progressive Fighting Academy and Canadian Martial Arts Centre, all the coaches that helped get me ready, my sponsors (Lafarge Lethbridge, Scenic Drive Landscape Centre, Southern Chiropractic Family Wellness, OHMY Apparel), and anyone that shows up to the fight or gives me positive feedback.” Follow Neufeld on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM