THERE is a sense of irony surrounding Tevin Farmer’s world title challenge against Billy Dib.
Unlike many of the star-studded names in the stacked super-featherweight division, Farmer (25-4-1, 5 KOs) wasn’t signed on the back of a stellar amateur career.
The Philadelphia-born southpaw took the road less traveled, fighting often as an opponent in the notorious club scene, taking several losses in his part-time approach to the paid ranks.
The 28-year-old has had to travel to Australia in his second attempt to capture the IBF super featherweight championship, after his first effort last December was clouded with controversy.
Less than four months after being shot in the hand, Farmer lost a questionable split decision to Kenichi Ogawa, before the Japanese veteran was stripped after failing a post-fight drug test.
Having faced a drawn-out saga to eventually challenge Dib for the now vacant world title, Farmer is determined to leave Australia having made amends, irrespective of current circumstances.
Although Farmer doesn’t believe that Dib has earned his title opportunity, the American has adopted a strictly business approach.
“Recently, I don’t think Dib has done enough to deserve a title shot,” said Farmer.
“But he is an ex-champion so that’s the way they’re probably looking at it. Honestly, I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really care. I’m going to go out there and do the best that I can do,”
“Whatever happens, happens. Even in the US, in my last fight I won the fight and didn’t get the decision. At this point, nothing surprises me at this point.”
“I’m going to go in there and beat him as bad as I can. If I get the knockout, well hopefully I do, I believe I’ll stop him in six [rounds] or less.”
Today marks a milestone in my life which I am very grateful to have overcome. One year ago I was shot in my hand and was told by doctors that I would never fight again. Hey doc guess what I’m back in my second Title fight in the last 8 months. (FOH) and for those of you who don’t know what that means it’s a Philly thing! We built different here we understand pain and hard work this is how my city raised me. I will never understand quit or can’t. I only know survive and overcome. As I sit back and reflect on this day I appreciate what I have and to have this opportunity again after all I’ve been through in the last year. Philly I will be World Champion next week and I won’t let anything stop me thank you for raising the man that you did. See you soon. Btw it’s my BIRTHDAY🎂🎈🎈🎈🎈
Given his recent form, which includes remaining unbeaten for the best part of six years, Farmer isn’t one to question the narrative surrounding his title run. And while he has every right to be bitter, Farmer believes a win on Friday night will go a long way to fast-tracking his progress.
For most, traveling to a foreign country to fight is never ideal, but Farmer doesn’t appear fazed, despite conceding that he should have the advantage of fighting on home soil.
“Everything happens for a reason, I believe I should’ve been the champion last time,” he added.
“He [Ogawa] tested positive for steroids, so now the fight between me and Billy Dib will be for the world title, which is a great thing for me. I’ll now get another shot, even when I should’ve already won it the first time.”
“I do think it’s kinda crazy, given I won my last fight but got robbed and now I’m getting the shot at the title again, but I have to travel for it. I think Billy should’ve had to travel here,”
“I didn’t really have to come to Australia, it was a deal type of thing. It was a possibility to have the fight in the US, but I don’t want to go too much into that.”
“I’m happy to come to Australia, I’ve never been here. Which made it a lot easier on them.”
When probed on any related pressure that accompanies the tag of being the favourite, Farmer was quick to admit that any expectations are rightly placed.
“I’m definitely the favourite here, I’m going to be the favourite against a lot of guys,” he concluded. “My skills are excellent, the people of the boxing world know who’s the better fighter between us, so I don’t think that means anything.”
“It’s only different here cause I’m coming to his hometown and I’m still the favourite.”
“It’s not about getting the win – I know I’m going to win – it’s just how I’m going to win.”
“We can ask Billy Dib after the fight. Anytime you travel to another country, you always want the people to see, no matter what the outcome.”
“You can cheat yourself, but you can never cheat the fans. They always know the truth.”