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Story by John DiSanto


Philly fight fans only have a few more days to wait before former 130-pound world champion Tevin Farmer finally makes his return to the ring. ďThe American IdolĒ enters the ring for the first time in more than three years this Saturday night at South Phillyís 2300 Arena. If this news isnít good enough, the icing on the match's cake is that Farmer will face fellow-Philadelphian Avery Sparrow in the scheduled 10 lightweight contest. It's not only a comeback for both fighters, it's Philly vs. Philly for fans. The fight tops a seven-bout card promoted by Hard Hitting Promotions.

The last time fight fans saw Farmer was 41 months ago. Thatís right. Farmerís last fight was on January 30, 2020! This was the night he lost his IBF belt against Jo Jo Diaz. Although that wasnít a great night for Farmer, most of us thought it was little more than a bump in the road for the Philly native. After all, he had been on quite a roll prior to the 12-round decision loss. Going in, Farmer was unbeaten in 24 straight bouts, including the winning of his first world championship and four successful title defenses. The defeat to Diaz removed the belt from Farmerís waist and bumped him down a notch in the world rankings, but it was just one fight. It made sense that after a little breather and some more study in the gym, Farmer would return to form in no time at all.

However, Farmerís inactivity stretched on and on Ė thanks to the COVID pandemic, promoter/network upheaval, and a cursed potential match against another former world champion. Tevin stubbornly did his best to meet Mickey Bey, including an attempt to promote the bout himself. However, the fight was postponed and finally cancelled at least three times.

During his layoff, Farmer watched his 30th, 31st, and 32nd birthday come and go. Based on his social media posts, it appeared that Farmer hardly missed a day in the gym during the hiatus, but the long, long inactive period was frustrating - both for Farmer and his fans. The good news is that Farmer, 30-5-1, 6 KOs, 1 No Contest, will squeeze in his return one month before he turns 33. However, even if he's in great shape, three and a half years is a long time. Such inactivity might have a major impact on a finesse fighter like Farmer. This factor is the biggest point of intrigue surrounding Farmer for this fight.

His opponent on Saturday is Avery Sparrow, the talented but inconsistent Philly prospect. While Farmer remained inactive, Sparrow fought four times. His record during that stretch was just 1-3. Sparrow beat Matt Conway (20-2) but lost to Rolly Romero (12-0), Abraham Nova (18-0), and William Foster III (14-0). All of these foes were solid competition and the phase brought Sparrow's overall pro record to 11-4, with 4 KOs and 1 No Contest.

Certainly, Farmer is the favorite in Saturday's match. However, when Sparrow is mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared to fight, he is a threat for any fighter. We havenít seen Sparrow since his losing effort against Foster last July. Even though Sparrow lost that one by a hair, he'll also enters the ring on Saturday after a considerable layoff.

The match has an obvious upside for Sparrow. Farmer is much higher on the food chain. So, if Sparrow can pull an upset, such a victory would reboot his career in a big way. However, the fight is also a prime opportunity for Farmer. Heís expected to win, but in Sparrow he will face a very good opponent that will help to measure Farmer's current status. Is Farmer ready to return to the thick of the 130-135 pound action? Sparrow should help us answer that question. This is the type of comeback fight Farmer needs right now Ė not an overblown match with Bey in an exotic locale. Farmer fighting Sparrow at home before local fans is exactly what he needs to do. On Saturday night, all of us - Farmer, Sparrow, and local fight fans - get not only what we want but also what we need. And what we need is Farmer vs. Sparrow.

The card also features three six-round bouts and three four-round bouts.

Dezmond Lucas vs. Elijah Vines, junior middleweights, looks like the best preliminary bout. 
Romuel Cruz vs. Jenn Gonzalez, featherweights.
Super middleweight Derrick Webster is as yet unmatched for Saturday.

Gustavo Morales vs. Najee Belcher, junior welterweights.
Luis Colon vs. Efrain Cruz, junior welterweights.
Trinidad Vargas vs. Artrimus Sartor, bantamweights.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - June 20, 2023