PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - January 30, 2020
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Lester Silva-Hogan Photos


Philly’s lone world champion, Tevin Farmer yielded his IBF junior lightweight championship to Joseph "JoJo" Diaz by unanimous decision Thursday night at the Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami. The fight was promoted by Matchroom Boxing and streamed live by DAZN. Farmer, making his fifth title defense, was not his usual energetic and elusive self, and appeared tired and even weak throughout the twelve-round contest. Diaz overcame a bad cut early in the fight and dominated the majority of the action, fought mostly on the inside.

Farmer entered the ring atop the 130-pound world and was a solid betting favorite against the highly regarded Diaz. Tevin took the first round, but came back to his corner shaking his right hand. The TV cameras even caught him saying, “I hurt my hand a little bit,” to trainer Chino Rivas. The second round was closer than the first, but Farmer edged the action again. Toward the end of the round, the two southpaws accidentally clashed heads and Diaz came away with a nasty cut on his left eyelid.

So bad was the cut that it appeared certain that the fight might end before it truly got started. However, Diaz’ corner handled the cut beautifully and JoJo fought on as if the ugly slash didn’t exist.

JoJo took control in the third and began stacking up rounds. He was busier and his punches packed more power than Farmer’s. Tevin stayed in the pocket, attempting to slug it out with Diaz, but the plan did not utilize Farmer’s best-proven skills. There was little foot movement, head movement, and far less energy than Farmer’s typical game includes. Diaz was more comfortable with the inside fighting and he built his lead accordingly. Diaz won the next five rounds on my card.

Farmer took the close eighth round, but by this time was looking winded and distracted. Diaz resumed control in the ninth and started a new streak of winning rounds. In the tenth, Diaz hurt Farmer with a clubbing right hook, but Farmer stayed in the fight. However, those of us waiting for Farmer to turn the tables and save his suddenly slipping titles, were disappointed.

Tevin continued to struggle in the last two rounds. He kept trying, and even took the final round on my score, but he was too far behind on points to salvage his belt. So this is what it looks like when Tevin Farmer has an off night.

Diaz won the fight – and the IBF title – by comfortable scores of 116-112 and 115-113 twice. My score was also 116-112 (eight rounds to four) for the new champion.

With the surprise victory, Diaz improved his record to 31-1, 5 KOs. It was his third attempt to win a world title. Farmer, 30-5-1-1, 6 KOs, lost for the first time in 24 bouts and more than seven years. Apparently a rematch clause exists in their contract and Farmer expressed interest in fighting Diaz again as soon as possible.

“We definitely gonna do that immediate rematch clause,” Farmer said. “Hopefully we can do it in April or May.” 

Like Julian Williams, Philly’s only other recent champion who lost his crown just two weeks ago, Farmer took the defeat with class.

“He put up a hell of a fight,” Farmer said. “No excuses. He put up a hell of a fight.” 

Leading up to the anticipated bout, Farmer - although clearly in terrific condition - looked thin and drained. Perhaps his busy schedule finally caught up with him. Or perhaps the fact that he fought just twice in 2019 and was coming off five months of "inactivity" put him on pace to over-train and burn himself out for this fight. Farmer grinds away at the gym and uses the mantra - "No Days Off". Sometimes fighters do too much in preparation for a fight. It looked like Farmer needed at least a few days off.

Diaz fought extremely well and was unaffected by the gaping cut he had to deal with for ten rounds. JoJo is arguably the best fighter that Farmer has ever faced. So although the result was a bit of a surprise, it was not beyond the realm of possibility.

The most surprising thing about the fight was that I always thought that the only way to beat Farmer was to knock him out. He’s always been so slick, impossible to hit, and just flawless at making adjustments in the ring. No one ever had much hope of beating him over the twelve round distance. That is no one, until Diaz. But Farmer's usual advantages were in short supply in Miami. Diaz deserves the credit for performing so well. However the feeling here is that this wasn’t the best Tevin Farmer. A rematch would be interesting and quite possibly might be different. They'll have to do it again before we find out.




John DiSanto - Miami via DAZN - January 30, 2020