Tevin Farmer, rested and recharged, makes another run at junior lightweight title
Nearly four years have passed since Tevin Farmer has been on the world stage. The southpaw from Philadelphia had narrowly lost his IBF junior lightweight title just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down for a few months, and then proceeded to sit out of action until this past June.
What some may interpret to be a loss of momentum was instead a much needed chance to recharge his batteries after a title reign which saw him fighting every few months for several years.
“Some people feel that being off will always hurt you but sometimes it can actually help you. I was fighting every two months, cutting weight back to back, cutting weight the wrong way. It was just taking a lot of energy out of me,” admitted Farmer (31-5-1, 6 knockouts).
Now 33, Farmer is looking to get his second win in three months when he faces Mexican banger Oscar Barajas (7-8-1, 2 KOs) in an 8-round lightweight bout this Friday at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The show, which is promoted by Alex Barbosa’s R&B Promotions, comes three months after his last outing, when he won a unanimous decision over Avery Sparrow at the same venue.
Farmer says he could have returned to the ring much sooner, but a number of situations made that more difficult. First, he lost his title to Joseph Diaz Jr. in his sixth defense in January of 2020, and a rematch clause was never executed due to the pandemic. Diaz lost the belt, and Farmer got lost in the 130-pound shuffle as he sought to get another opportunity elsewhere.
Now a promotional and managerial free agent, Farmer is rebuilding himself back into contention on the club scene level.
“I could have been back a little earlier, I was just trying to look for the bigger fights. I realized that I’m gonna take it one step at a time and build myself up a little bit because it’s kind of hard to get the big fights,” said Farmer, who trains with Raul “Chino” Rivas and Nick Rosario at TKO Fitness in Cherry Hill, N.J.
While his previous opponent was more of a boxer, the 33-year-old Barajas is a 5’10” southpaw brawler. Though his winning percentage is sub is sub .500%, he’s on the best run of his career after scoring mild upsets over Damon Allen and Roberto Gomez. Barajas trains at Juice Boxx in Freehold, N.J. and got some sparring with unbeaten prospect Rajon Chance.
If all goes according to plan, Farmer expects to be back in action on December 1 before seeking even bigger opportunities in 2024. Farmer is already rated number 15 by the IBF at lightweight, and expects to re-enter the WBC rankings after this fight. Farmer says he had a conversation with WBC 130-pound titleholder O’Shaquie Foster about a potential fight after the Sparrow fight, but says he’d be open to fighting any of the champions at junior lightweight.
“I’m just getting back adapted to every style of fighting again, even though I’ve been off for three and a half years. I just want to get every style under my belt before 2024 hits so I can be prepared for the fights,” said Farmer, who plans to gradually work himself back down to 130 pounds.
“Whether I have to become number one contender which is not a problem or I just get a shot because one of these guys want to have someone like me on their resume and think they can beat me. It’s OK with me, however it goes.”
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].