Tevin Farmer brims with new confidence going into second title defense
Cherry Hill, N.J. – He radiates something that wasn’t always there, yet hid within the crevices of his psyche and was sometimes undetectable – at least not to where those sitting ringside could feel it. Tevin Farmer always had an underlying confidence. The 28-year-old southpaw from Philadelphia had no other choice but to have confidence, since no one else, other than his family and close-knit team, very rarely did in him.
Farmer was always “the other guy,” “the opponent,” “the guy expected to lose.”
Winning the IBF junior lightweight title has changed that – and him.
This year transformed him.
Farmer finds himself even more explosive and certainly more of a target among the best 130-pounders in the world, currently rated No. 3 in the division by RingTV.com behind WBC titlist Miguel Berchelt and the WBA’s Gervonta Davis, who seems like he’s on a collision course with Farmer next year.
First however Farmer (27-4-1, 6 knockouts) has to get by Francisco Fonseca (22-1-1, 16 KOs) on DAZN, from Madison Square Garden, Saturday night, in his second title defense, as the co-feature to the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding super middleweight fight.
“I’m ready; I can’t wait,” Farmer said. “I think I always had confidence. I just didn’t show it that much. I think that comes from being a world champion. The more you win, the more confidence you get. It has everything to do with winning the belt (beating Australian Billy Dib last August in a near-shut-out performance) and then defending it with a knockout (stopping James Tennyson in five in October).
“When I knocked out Tennyson, I was back in the gym a few days later. I don’t want to lose what I worked so hard to get. I’m still fighting for this title. That’s the way I always think. I’m better mentally and more confident than I’ve ever been. I don’t know much about Fonseca. We’ll see what we get into the ring.
“I feel I’m much better than I was two months ago when I beat Tennyson,” added Farmer. “That comes from the confidence I’ve always had. I’m just showing it more.”
Fonseca’s lone loss came against Gervonta Davis by eighth round stoppage in Las Vegas, in August 2017, but Davis lost the belt Farmer now holds on the scale the day before, blowing the platform he had as part of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor undercard.
Farmer’s simple goal for Saturday night is to put Fonseca’s lights out earlier.
“First I’m tired of talking about Gervonta Davis. What I’m doing and where I’m going has nothing to do with him. I’m focusing on myself,” Farmer said. “I’m getting tired of people bringing him up to me all of the time. My personal goal is to out-do what I did against my last opponent and that means knocking (Fonseca) out within the first four rounds.
“I don’t give a shit about Davis. He’s not doing anything right now. I’m going on my third fight and I have fights lined up and I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’ll fight again in March. I won a title in August. I got shot in the hand; I defended my title by knockout in October and I’m fighting again in December. I’m looking to go four (rounds) or less. I’m going to go in there and fight smart.
“I think I deserve to be ‘Fighter of the Year.’ I’ve won three times (in 2018) and came back from a lot of adversity. I’m happy and appreciative that the boxing world knows who I am – but it’s about Goddamn time. I know what Fonseca is thinking because I was there. I was that guy, the guy no one thinks is going to win but the big difference is this: He’s not me.”
Chino Rivas, Farmer’s trainer, has seen the transformation. Rivas feels it’s a matter of appreciation. Farmer has always worked hard. He’s always been disciplined out of the ring.
The more Farmer’s stature has grown, the more settled he feels in the ring to sit on his punches and use his power. It shows. Tennyson was the first opponent he stopped in three years.
“I told Tevin that once he wins that title, life will change and it has but it’s made him work even harder,” Rivas said. “Fighters get those titles and they do change. Success makes people fat and sloppy. Not Tevin. His mother Rhonda Gans wouldn’t let Tevin get lazy. All of Tevin’s siblings are all productive. They’re college graduates. They’re all going to be there at Madison Square Garden for the fight. Where one goes, they all go. And like I said, they’re all productive.
“Just like Tevin. I can’t get him to slow down between fights. If anything, Tevin works too hard.”
With Farmer and his promoter Lou DiBella locked into a multi-fight deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA, which began with the Tennyson fight, apparently the rest of the boxing world is growing faith in Farmer as well.
Struggling to locate a copy of The Ring Magazine? Try here or
You can order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page.