|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 01, 2016|
Fast-rising Philly junior lightweight Tevin Farmer, 23-4-1, 5 KOs, returns to the 2300 Arena Friday night to face LA-based Albanian Dardan Zenunaj, 12-2, 9 KOs, with the local southpaw’s NABF title belt and #3 WBC world ranking on the line. The 10-rounder is the main event of an eight-bout show promoted by Peltz Boxing (with BAM Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions & DiBella Entertainment), and will be the second consecutive hometown fight for “The American Idol”.
A Farmer fight usually means much entertainment for fans. His flashy left-handed style and exuberant self-confidence support his promises to become a world champion, and with each fight, those promises feel more and more believable.
“I can beat anybody in the world,” Farmer said. “It don’t matter who they offer me, I’m going to get the job done. I’m going to get the job done.”
However, as Farmer rises in the ranks, another 130-pounder, Vasyl Lomachenko, recently vaulted to the top of most lists of the world’s best junior lightweights.
Last Saturday, Lomachenko staked his claim at 130 with a vivid display of ability against Nicholas Walters, in a WBO world title bout. After losing seven one-sided rounds, the previously unbeaten Walters surrendered in his corner in a shocking result that still has the boxing world buzzing.
However, unlike everyone else, Farmer wasn’t shocked by Walters’ tap-out.
“No, I wasn’t surprised,” Farmer said. “It’s boxing. Anything can happen in boxing. It was a good win for Lomachenko. He did what I lot of guys didn’t do. He made Walters quit.”
Farmer’s lack of surprise might come from the fact that a few years ago, he spent some quality time in the ring with Lomachenko during a training camp.
“It was great work,” Farmer said of the sparring session.
In boxer-speak, “great work” translates as respect.
“I think he looked good,” Farmer said of Lomachenko’s win. “Even though Walters wasn’t punching, I still think he looked good because he made him not punch. Walters wasn’t not punching because he wasn’t punching. He made him not punch. So that’s why he wasn’t punching.”
Given the chance to take on the man most think is the best in his weight class, Farmer would quickly grab a fight with Lomachenko – if the terms were right.
“Of course! I always say that I’d like to fight the best, but it’s got to make sense,” Farmer said. “Depends on what the number is. I’ve worked hard to get my rankings up to number three, almost a mandatory. I’m not just going to let somebody call me into a fight just because they want to call me in. We both the brightest, hottest lefties in boxing. So the fight’s got to make sense. Both fighters have similar styles and it’s a fight everybody wants to see. So it’s got to make sense all around the board. Dollars and everything.”
Although Farmer is closer than ever to landing such a life-changing bout, he still feels like he’s waited long enough, even perhaps too long.
“They should have called me in a long time ago when my rankings wasn’t up.” Farmer said. “They wanted me to work hard just to get where I’m at. So, if the number’s right, we’ll fight.”
If Lomachenko doesn’t come knocking on Farmer’s door anytime soon, Tevin sees WBC champion Francisco Vargas as his best route to the world title.
“It got to be the WBC,” Farmer said. “I’m closer to the WBC’s number one spot. So it has to be that one, unless somebody just bump me up in the rankings. Other than that, I don’t see anybody volunteering. So let me cash in on my WBC title and then we (he and Lomachenko) can do a unification bout for a lot of money. I’m not going to let them do it their way. It’s got to be my way this time. It’s been their way for too long.”
It appears that Francisco Vargas is the man in demand. After his win last week, Lomachenko also named Vargas as his next possible target.
As enticing as it is for Tevin and his fans to dream of the big fights coming his way in the future, we all know that first comes Friday’s fight and Farmer’s need to extend his 16-bout, 4-year winning streak.
And that in itself should be pretty exciting.
“It’s my first title defense and it’s going to be in Philly,” Farmer said of his bout with Zenunaj. “That’s major. That will be major. I’m looking to keep it in Philly. I don’t know nothing about him. My first time hearing of him was when they offered it to me. I said let’s go.”
Farmer loves the spotlight, and a main event in Philadelphia, with his face on the poster and his regional belt at stake in the ring, is the very definition of spotlight.
“I’m defending my title, so it definitely feels big,” Farmer said. “Everything is more so about me and not everyone else. All the light is on me. So, it just puts pressure on me to go out there and perform.”
And performing is what Farmer has become known for.
“For a fact, I know I’m going to get a victory,” Farmer said. “We’re going crush him. We’re going to go in there and look sharp. Let’s see what the outcome will be… but I know it’s going to be a victory.”