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Story by John DiSanto
Photo by Ed Mulholand / Matchroom Boxing


IBF junior lightweight champion Tevin Farmer successfully defended his world title on Saturday night with a one-sided, 12-round unanimous decision over Frenchman Guillaume Frenois, 46-2-1, 12 KOs, at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. For Farmer, still one week shy of the first anniversary of his becoming a world champ, it was his fourth title defense.

Farmer, 30-4-1, 6 KOs, 1 NC, steadily built his points lead from the opening bell. He slipped, he dodged, and he fired away at his foe. And by the time Frenois made his surge at the end of the fight, the challenger was already mathematically eliminated from victory. Farmer easily retained his belt by official scores of 119-108 and 116-111 twice (by Ellis Johnson, Javier Alvarez and Daniel Sandoval, respectively). 

The fight was a no-sweat stop on Farmer’s ride toward a big fight with WBA champ Gervonta Davis, 22-0, 21 KOs, who also defended his belt on the same night in his hometown of Baltimore. Davis blew out his challenger (TKO2), Ricardo Nunez, 21-3, 19 KOs, in his fight.

After these fights concluded, one on DAZN and one on Showtime, all that any boxing fan could hope for was a meeting between Farmer and Davis, two talented southpaw champions at the top of their game. The fight is a natural, a no-brainer, the most attractive pairing that could possibly be made at 130 pounds. Farmer the boxer against Davis the puncher, could truly be a classic. But the fighters must find their way into the same ring.

This pair has been jawing at each other for a few years now – in person, via video, and on social media. Of course at first, Farmer could only dream of landing the fight. Often avoided, Tevin’s handful of losses could be used as an excuse for others to overlook him – despite a growing unbeaten streak and a rise in the ratings.

Davis was always in the driver’s seat. He was undefeated, had a belt, and was a protégé of Floyd Mayweather. Powerfully backed by Mayweather Promotions, Davis and his promoter could maintain that fighting Farmer didn’t offer enough of an upside.

However with Tevin’s seizure of the IBF title last year, that narrative has drastically changed. Further, his rapid string of title defenses has not only made him one of the most active champions in the game, the DAZN platform has helped exhibit his skills to the world outside of Philly. 

So right now, given both fighter’s stature, ranking, and respective skill sets, there is no reason to delay this fight any longer. Farmer and Davis need to fight each other next. But still the fighters and their promoters are still circling. 

After his title defense, Davis called-out Farmer. “I want Tevin Farmer my next fight,” he said. “It can be made. Let’s get it on later this year.” 

However, Farmer has heard this challenge before. 

“It can’t be made,” Farmer said. “He says he wants me, but the people behind him say something else. Leonard Ellerbe (of Mayweather Promotions) says, I’m going to move Gervonta the way I want.’ It’s constant excuses. So, I’m moving forward. If it happens, it happens. I want all the world champions out there.” 

Of course there are other options for both fighters. But Farmer vs. Davis is the fight. It shouldn’t fall through the negotiation cracks, or be put off due to fighter’s ego or promoter’s need for control. So many good fights were lessened by too much time talking. So, let’s do this fight now before it’s too late.

“Tell him to sign the contract and we can see at the end of the year,” Farmer said.  I couldn’t agree with him more.    

Earlier on the same card, Philly heavyweight Joey Dawejko won a unanimous 10-round decision over late replacement Rodney Hernandez. Two years ago, the two fought to an 8-round draw in Maryland. In the rematch, they battled closely for the entire fight. Hernandez was the aggressor most of the way, while Joey waited for counter-punching opportunities.

Hernandez rocked Dawejko in the second half, but Dawejko survived and pressed the action better, later in the fight. After ten rounds, I thought Hernandez had edged the local with his busier output. However, all three judges scored the fight for Dawejko. Michael Mitchell had it 98-92, while Don Griffin and Rafael Ramos saw it a bit closer at 96-94.

"I think I did enough to win," Dawejko said afterwards. "That dude can fight." 

So, Dawejko, 20-7-4, 11 KOs, squeaked it out and moves on, perhaps to a match with original opponent Murat Gassiev, 26-1, 19 KOs, on DAZN.

Dawejko photo by Stacey Verbeek.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - July 27, 2019