Tevin Farmer: A Rising Star

By Thad Moore on October 12, 2016
Tevin Farmer: A Rising Star
"He couldn't hurt me. I'm not a big guy, but I'm tough." (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)

“I started boxing at 19. I was an all-around athlete. Coming over to boxing, I went to the gym sparring top dudes and held my own. I knew I had talent…”

The always prepared Tevin Farmer is ready to fight at all times. Call him on a moment’s notice and he will be physically and mentally ready to do battle in the squared circle.

On October 14th, Farmer will stay busy by taking on the 19-7 Orlando Rizo. Farmer is looking forward to this bout as it will give him the opportunity to fight in his hometown of Philadelphia. Farmer, who took the fight on about one month’s notice, is constantly in the gym refining his craft, readying himself for the next opportunity.

“I’m in training all year round. I was in camp with Sosa boxing 10, 12 rounds easy. When I get the call, I’m already ready to fight. We’re ready for everyone in the world from 126 to 135. We don’t turn down fights. It’s not hard for us to say, ‘We’re going to take the fight.’ I just work on technique. I’m in the gym all year round so I don’t have to work to get in shape. When we come to the gym, it’s not bull crap. We come to work. I want to look good in the ring.”

After Farmer’s eye-opening decision win over lightweight Ivan Redkach in July, he is becoming more and more of a hot commodity in the sport.

It certainly did not start out that way for Farmer, who did not get involved in boxing until his late teens. In school, he was busy playing football and basketball. In between sporting seasons, Farmer’s brother took him to the gym and he knew it was the sport for him almost immediately.

“I started boxing at 19. I was an all-around athlete, period. Coming over to boxing, I went to the gym sparring top dudes and held my own. I knew I had talent.  Everything I ever did, I was one of the best or the best on the squad.”

Farmer, who never watched the ‘Sweet Science’ growing up, had a natural aptitude for the sport and the super featherweight contender decided to start his boxing career as an amateur to gain valuable experience prior to turning pro. However, Farmer was not able to break through with the type of results he desired early in his career.

“I decided to go amateur in 2009. I had 16 fights. I was 12-4 in the amateurs and went straight pro not knowing nothing. For the first year or two, I lost four fights in my career. I wondered if I took this serious, what would happen?”

The southpaw Farmer made some important changes, which has led to consistent performances in the ring.

“I thought to myself, I got to make a change. I’ve worked with people on my team who are going to better me, help me. That’s why I’m here today, where I’m at. In 2013, I made a change in my life and dedicated myself to the sport. I never looked back from there. I beat a lot of top guys, top prospects, top contenders, and now I’m runner up for a world title.”

After a hard-fought TKO defeat at the hands of undefeated and current IBF super featherweight champion Jose Pedraza, Farmer has rattled off 17 straight wins to increase his record to 22-4-1. During this run, Farmer has scored wins over previously unbeaten Camilo Perez, Emmanuel Gonzalez, and Angel Luna. He also won the NABF 130-pound title against Gamaliel Diaz.

This led “The American Idol” to the nationally televised bout on Showtime Extreme against Redkach. Some questioned the move up in weight for the natural super featherweight against the formidable Ukrainian puncher. Farmer, along with trainer, Raul “Chino” Rivas make decisions about each fight that is presented to them.

“Good fights come up and we take advantage of it. All fighters that come by me, I run by ‘Chino.’ All fighters that come by ‘Chino,’ he runs by me. It’s not hard for us to say we’re going to take fights. I’m at the level where I can compete and beat anyone in the world.”

Farmer felt very comfortable with the team’s game plan and was able to execute it to perfection against Redkach.

“The fight was excellent. I did everything I said I was going to do. I went out there and made it look easy and showed the world I’m ready for the top level. I was giving him little feints and making him skeptical about throwing shots. I kept on making him hesitant about throwing. Every time he threw a punch, I countered him. I have him right where I want him to be. Coming into the fight, I knew he couldn’t hurt me. I’m not a big guy, but I’m pretty tough.”

“The plan was to wear him down. By the sixth round, I was going to go get him. I wanted to go get him in the fourth, but my trainer said we’re going to stick to the game plan. In the sixth round, I went after him. I was standing there with him. I think if it wasn’t for the referee, I could’ve stopped him. The referee broke it up every time and didn’t let us work on the inside.”

Among those impressed with Farmer’s performance is one of the sport’s best in light heavyweight Andre Ward. As Ward prepares for his showdown in November against WBA, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight king, Sergey Kovalev, he was quick to praise Farmer on a video posted by FightHype.com. “Tevin Farmer, they sleepin’ on him, you better watch out for Tevin. He can do it all.”

Farmer thoroughly appreciates Ward’s praise. “I’ve gotten so much notoriety from everywhere. I woke up and I was getting messages saying he (Ward) showed love. When I saw it and he said ‘Tevin Farmer,’ I appreciated it. There’s a lot of great up and coming fighters. It could’ve been anybody—Canelo, Crawford, Lomachenko, Rigondeux, you’ve got all those great fighters. But out of everybody, you remember Tevin Farmer. That was a big, huge statement and publicity for me. I was happy and I just rode the wave from there.”

WBA World super featherweight champion Jason Sosa who also had a slow start to his career is another prime example that a fighter’s record does not always tell the full story. Sosa and Farmer, who he refers to as his brother, even though they are not related, are very close. Both fighters train out of the same Victory Boxing Gym in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The titleholder who defeated Javier Fortuna in a big upset in June supports Farmer in all aspects of his ring endeavors.

“My brother Tevin Farmer can really fight. I don’t get nervous when I fight, but I get nervous when he fights. I’m very excited to help him fight. I’m going to help him as much as I can in his camp. He did it for me. He got me ready and made me a world champion.”

Rivas trains both Farmer and Sosa. He has been instrumental in instilling the fundamentals that have turned around both careers and made them successful. Rivas sees in Farmer a versatile boxer, who can excel by using angles and movement so his opponent can never be sure where he is going to be.

“It’s exciting. I think he’s (Tevin) one of the best 130-pound fighters in the world. He has not had his opportunity due to personal problems. Tevin is someone who can fight using different styles. He’s a 130-pounder, a 126-pounder. Super featherweight is his best weight. It’s great for the exposure for the world to see who Tevin Farmer is. He’s excited, ecstatic, and likes the limelight. He performs very well because he loves that stage.”

Farmer relishes the opportunity to be a leader in the gym and to mentor younger fighters as they ply their craft.

“They all look at me like a big brother. I feel as though I have to lead them. I want to make sure they do good and not make the mistakes I made. We do a little trash talking here and there to motivate them and keep them sharp. We have a lot of great fighters here. We have good in-house sparring.”

The plan is for Farmer to return to Philadelphia in December to headline a card against an unnamed opponent after the Rizo bout. He recognizes the importance of giving back to his hometown fans.

“I’m just going to enjoy everything that’s happening right now. This is what I wanted since we’re fighting in Philadelphia. I have a very big fan base. I can tell you that Philadelphia is one of the mecca’s of boxing. I’m proud to be from here because we breed great fighters.”

Farmer is confident in his ability as a top contender and looks forward to winning a world title.  But at the same time he is comfortable working his way up to getting a championship opportunity. Farmer looks forward to showcasing his skills over the next two fights to keep the boxing world talking.

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