Tevin Farmer’s rise to one of boxing’s top prospects is one of the more unexpected developments in the sport, but if watch him fight for the first time you would think he’s undefeated, and at times, unbeatable.
With each fight growing more important than the last, Farmer’s ready for his next challenge, the biggest of his career, a clash with another rising prospect in Ivan Redkach (19-1-1,15 KO’s). The fight will air on Showtime Extreme as part of the Barclays Center-hosted Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton card on July 30.
“I like the spotlight. Every time I’ve been on TV I stole the show, and I’m looking forward to doing it again,” Farmer said confidently. “Respect to all those guys on the card, but it’s my time and they know it.”
Farmer’s record, (21-4-1, 5 KO’s) doesn’t arrive without nuance. An unspectacular record on the surface, but the Philadelphia-born boxer’s gone a perfect (14-0) since his last loss in October 2012 to current world champion Jose Pedraza.
Farmer’s previous losses were a result of improper training, lack of direction, inferior management and fighting on short notice.
“All these losses are not losses,” Farmer said of his four defeats. “Nobody beat me when I’ve had a six-to-eight week training camp. I guarantee you nobody that beat me can beat me right now. Pedraza beat me on three days’ notice and I still went damn near the distance with him. All the early rounds I beat him until I got tired.”
The first of the 14 straight wins after the Pedraza loss was a decision victory over John Willoughby in February 2013, the year Farmer says his career reversed course after finally discovering his focus.
“I never knew what being focused was. I grew up in football and basketball and things like that, boxing was just something I was doing,” Farmer said of the early portion of his career. “The people I had around me at that time didn’t really know anything either, so we were all basically learning on the job.
“As you move forward in your job, you start learning more things about that craft and what it takes,” he added. “I started seeing and understanding what I had to do to get to the next level. Out of nowhere something just clicked, I started turning everything around.”
The super featherweight, who’s moving up to lightweight for his upcoming bout with Redkach, attributes his turnaround to longtime family friend and Rocco’s Collision owner Mark Cipparone, whom Farmer recently parted ways with in June.
Cipparone managed Farmer during the rebirth, and as Farmer began to eat and train properly, positive results soon followed, enough for the 25-year old to draw interest from major promoters.
In June 2014, Farmer took center stage in his first nationally televised opportunity, a main event slot opposite rising undefeated prospect Emmanuel Gonzalez on Fox Sports 1. Farmer was brought in to be the stepping stone for Gonzalez, but Farmer had other plans and proceeded to box circles around the Bronx native for an easy 10-round decision win.
Farmer subsequently signed with Lou DiBella’s DiBella Promotions shortly after gaining interest from Golden Boy and Main Event, among others.
Since then, Farmer’s been viewed by many as an underdog while in the process of re-inventing himself from a potential journeyman to a possible title contender in the immediate future.
Whether it’s an undefeated prospect like Gonzalez or Angel Luna, who Farmer schooled on ESPN 2 last year, or a young heavy-handed contender like Colombian Daulis Prescott, who Farmer KO’d on HBO Latino last summer, playing spoiler has become his specialty.
“A lot of fighters want to take easy fights and I don’t respect it. If you’re a fighter, you’re a fighter,” Farmer said. “The only fighters that want to take easy fights are the ones who are unsure of themselves. Me personally, I know for a fact I can beat everyone in my division. I don’t give a [expletive], excuse my mouth, what name they bring up. I’ll wipe anyone out of my division.”
Considering how Farmer’s career took off, or didn’t actually until 2013, one may wonder where his supreme level of confidence stems from, but he says he’s always had it, which ultimately got him here.
“I always had that confidence, it was just [about] me having the right resources around me to be able to move forward,” he said. “Once I got the right resources around me then everybody started seeing the growth. Everybody’s always seen the talent, but there was something that wasn’t clicking.
“The more fights you win, the more people you beat, the more confidence you get,” he added. “You realize people can’t beat you when you’re going all over the world, you’re sparring different people, you’re fighting different people and nobody could touch you.”
One fighter in particular whose name has been associated with Farmer has been another undefeated prospect, TMT fighter Gervonta Davis (16-0-0, 15 KO’s). Davis, who according to Floyd Mayweather could be the heir to Floyd’s throne, called out Farmer years ago but has since backed off his claim after initially wanting to slug it out, according to Farmer.
“I never even knew who the kid was to be honest,” Farmer said. “He asked me if he wanted to fight me first and I responded to it like two years ago [when he called me out]. But I guess all of a sudden he’s seen how I been doing and changed his mind.”
As it pertains to his immediate future, there has been an increase in trash talk between Farmer and Redkach. As previously alluded to, Farmer is not expecting an overly competitive challenge from Redkach, who’s the ninth-ranked lightweight by the WBC, despite it being the biggest fight of both of their careers.
“Only thing I could say is that he’s going to come to fight until I break him, that’s it,” Farmer said. “He’s not going to come to lay down, but once he gets punched in the mouth one time, all that stuff changes.
“It’s not going to be a good fight, I’ll dominate him every round. If not, I’ll stop him, it won’t get past eight,” he continued. “Once my name gets out there, I easily can be ranked one of the best pound-for-pound fighters, trust me.”
Overall it hasn’t been easy for Farmer, a top-15 ranked 130-pound contender by multiple sanctioning bodies, to land the marquee fights because of the high-risk, low-reward incentive for his challengers, as the Philly product has yet to be established as a big name in the sport.
After his KO win over Prescott in August, a fight with former world title-holder Edner Cherry fell through, and Farmer whooped veteran Gamaliel Diaz in late March, nearly eight months later, the longest layoff in his career.
“I don’t know who wants to fight me,” Farmer said matter of factly. “I’ve got to be a mandatory, man. It’s up to the WBC or one of these sanctioning bodies. If they want a real champion, make me a mandatory or whatever the case may be because I definitely earned it, especially after this win.”
With Saturday’s main event being a featherweight title bout between the undefeated Cruz and former unified super bantamweight champion Frampton, Farmer issued out a message to this weekend’s top-of-the-card fighters, perhaps setting up a future showdown at the world championship level.
“We’re all around the same weight class, so they have to see me too,” he said. “They better watch out. I don’t care who it is, I’m taking out everybody if they’ve got the balls to get in the ring with me. It’s only the beginning for me man, I really feel like I could be a pay-per-view star, my style is just crazy.”
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