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Story & Photos by John DiSanto


Fight fans in Philadelphia have been watching Tevin Farmer closely for the past few years. We’ve seen him grow from what appeared to be an average local fighter into a rising prospect on the verge of a major breakthrough. Farmer has left a few clues for the rest of the fight fans that he is the real thing. However, only those who have seen him from the start and truly appreciate the change this southpaw junior lightweight has made.

His current pro record of 21-4-1, 5 KOs, looks pretty good, but this wasn’t always the case. He started 4-3-1, and looked like any other so-so young fighter. He won a few more fights before losing by TKO to a then 10-0 (and now world champion) Jose Pedraza in 2012. The loss left Farmer 7-4-1, 1 KO, but it was the end of the so-so chapter of Farmer’s career. From that moment, everything changed.

“In 2013 I moved out of Philly, I came to Jersey, got a whole different training staff, and I dedicated myself to boxing,” Farmer said about his transformation. “Straight boxing, morning, noon and night. Running, eating right, everything. That’s what transferred me over.” 

What also helped in his transition was winning, and winning consistently.

“I always knew I was good, but me continuing to win, just made me know that,” Farmer said. “Then they put somebody else in front of me and I beat him easy again. That’s more confidence. Then they put another guy in front of me and that’s supposed to beat me, and I beat him. Then they put another guy in front of me and I beat him. Then they put another guy, I beat him. I keep beating these dudes.”

Currently Farmer is on a 14-bout winning streak.

“I felt, ‘Dang, you really are who you think you are’,” Farmer said about himself. “Sometimes people think they’re good, but they’re unsure that their good. When you good and you know you’re good, that’s when you got it.”

Farmer honestly believes he’s got it. His confidence is through the roof, but when he talks, it doesn’t just sound like talk. He’s these days. He has improved greatly and he knows it.

On Saturday night, he takes on perhaps his toughest opponent to date.

Farmer will celebrate his 26th birthday on Saturday by taking on the touted Ivan Redkach, 19-1-1, 15 KOs, at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

“It’s probably the biggest stage I’ve been on, and the biggest card,” Farmer said about fighting at the Barclays. “Oh my goodness, big as hell. Of course I’m happy. I’m really happy. It’s a big card. They got Leo Santa Cruz, they got Carl Frampton, they got Mikey Garcia, Paulie Malignaggi, but when they added me to the card that was the icing on the cake.”

Against Redkach, Tevin will look to win the fight, climb further up the ratings, and give himself the best birthday present imaginable.

“I think he’s the toughest one,” Farmer said about Redkach. “I also fought Pedraza, but since 2013 up until now, since I started taking my career seriously? Yes, I think he’s the toughest one.”

Farmer will enter the fight (scheduled for broadcast on Showtime Extreme) as the opponent. Redkach has had more exposure and has the prettier record on paper. However, Farmer the evolution of Tevin Farmer has left all of us in Philadelphia believing in him. According to Farmer, we may not be the only ones.

“Well, they got me favored on the betting sites,” Farmer said. “I’m the favorite, but, it’s okay to be the opponent. I can be the opponent. Every time big shows happen, I always come through. The world sees that. It’s easy. I’m made for it. I actually think I perform better on TV than not on TV.”

That was certainly the case when Farmer faced Daulis Prescott last year. Farmer dominated the more experienced fighter and stopped him in the eighth round on HBO Latino. It was his third straight nationally televised bout, and his performance removed any doubt that Farmer had arrived.

Farmer’s performance was electrifying, and the victory also earned him Philadelphia’s Briscoe Award for the “2015 Performance of the Year”. He’ll collect that award in October.

“I think that was my best performance, yeah,” Farmer said. “It definitely was. I put on a good performance when I fought Luna too. In that fight, I showed everything. He kept coming forward. I showed that I could box him. I showed that I could sit there and bang. I took a couple of shots that I didn’t want to take, but it showed that I have a chin. So I showed everything in that fight, but the Prescott fight was the icing on the cake.” 

A similar result in the Redkach fight will do wonders for Farmer’s worldwide reputation. However, he’ll have to deliver at a new weight class.

“I’m moving up to 135 to fight a big puncher,” Farmer said. “It was a good opportunity, but I won’t stay there. I can make 130 easy. I’ll move up and knock him off easy.” 

And what would a win like that do for Farmer?

“A world title (shot) at 130,” Farmer said. “What else is there to prove? Other than a world title, what’s the next step? Who’s the next guy I fight? Of all the sanctioning bodies, I’m ranked in three of them – IBF, WBO and WBC. They already have their eye on me. They know. So this fight will put me up way high in the rankings. Hopefully I’ll get a title shot. Hopefully. Maybe I’ll get a mandatory spot, or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure, but maybe somebody can make it happen. I’m working on some big deals right now with someone, but after this fight, I’ll confirm.”

Recently Farmer received a little extra motivation when his friend and stablemate, Jason Sosa won the WBA junior lightweight title by knocking out Javier Fortuna in Beijing, China. Sosa’s win hit close to home and gave validation to the dream that both Sosa and Farmer had been chasing.

“It’s reality,” Farmer said. “We were just talking about it. We’re both going to be world champions. Then he became a world champion. Whoa! Smack! It’s true. Everybody knows I’m next. He got his. He worked hard. He deserved it, he earned it. And I’m next. Motivation!” 

But don’t expect the two boxers to ever face each other in a real fight. They train at the same gym, have the same trainer, Raul “Chino” Rivas, and seem even closer than the Klitschko brothers.

“We can’t fight. It’s impossible,” Farmer said. “Even if he has three belts and I have one, or I have three belts and he has one. Whatever it is, it ain’t going to happen. We really could own the division. We really could. We have different styles. He has a banging style, I have a boxer-puncher style. So whoever is a good matchup for him, he’ll take them out, and leave the rest up to me, and I’ll take them out.” 

Farmer is confident.

“I work hard,” Farmer said. “I’m working hard. The skills are there. The skills will always be there. I don’t really focus on them. I just focus on working hard, and coming in the best shape of my life every time. The skills are going to show, and in the past few years, it’s been showing. My work ethic been showing, and I’m going to continue. I don’t get tired. If you get in there with me and you get tired, it’s your ass. Yeah, that’s your ass.”

The fight with Redkach won’t be easy, but Farmer knows what to expect.

“I know who he is,” Farmer said about Redkach. “He’s tough, he’s going to come forward, but that’s how I like them. I like them tough and come forward. I like guys coming in shape. I don’t like no excuses. He had a full camp to train. I had a good camp and trained. So the best man wins. There’s no excuses at the end of the day. I know he going to come to fight, and this fight is going to put me at another level.” 

It’s obvious to Farmer what that new level should be.  

“Give me a world title (shot), I don’t care who it is,” Farmer said. “Give me a world title (shot), and I’ll take him out. I do want Pedraza again, but that won’t happen. He already told me that he not fighting me (again). That’s some shit right there, right? He told me. I was looking at Fortuna, but he said ‘no’. He took my boy Sosa and got knocked the hell out. So I’m proud of that. Who else? Now there’s only (Francisco) Vargas and (Vasyl) Lomachenko.” 

There are a few others at 130, but Lomachenko is the one that most fans consider the cream of the junior lightweight crop.

“Lomachenko, he’s a good friend of mine,” Farmer said. “He’s the real deal. He ain’t no slouch. I’m the real deal too, but he the real deal too. That’s a hell of a fight. That fight right there is worth a lot of money. That’s a money fight. That’s a money fight. We’ll use good angles and we both fast. That’s a money fight. But everybody else, I’ll wipe them out. Wipe them right out.” 

A confidence like Farmer’s doesn’t merely end with the dream of fighting the best or winning a title. He sees far beyond that.

“If I get a title, I want to defend mine back-to-back-to-back-to-back,” Farmer said. “Give me all tough fights. I want to be a Pay-Per-View star. I don’t want to make 1.4 million, 2 million, 1.3 million. I want to make 10 plus. That’s my goal. So I want the big fights. I want big fights back-to-back. They say it will burn fighters out, but it can’t burn you out if you don’t get hit. I won’t get hit. I don’t get hit. I hit and don’t get hit. That’s how I fight, and I don’t run. I stand there and still don’t get hit. So give me the big fights, I’ll make them easy and I’ll be a Pay-Per-View star. I don’t want the one or two millions. I want the ten plus.” 

Farmer’s quest for Pay-Per-View stardom begins with Ivan Redkach on Saturday night in Brooklyn, and it’s a fight he can’t see himself losing. That’s how confidence works.

“They can’t go where I can mentally,” Farmer said about Team Redkach. “Mentally, I can go to another planet. They can only reach the clouds.” 




John DiSanto - Cherry Hill, NJ - July 25, 2016