Tevin Farmer (28-4-1) has come a long way since his controversial split decision loss to Kenichi Ogawa (22-1) in December 2017, which was later ruled as a no contest due to a failed drug test from Ogawa, who tested positive for Androstanediol.
The still vacant IBF strap was then contested by Farmer again in the summer of 2018 and he finally captured the world featherweight championship by widely defeating Billy 'The Kid' Dib (43-4) in his own back yard in Australia, one scorecard reading 120-107. Two successful defences later and the 28-year-old 'American Idol' has really cemented his place as one of the best 130lbs fighters in the world.
The Philadelphian will now defend his belt for the third time when he comes up against Ireland’s undefeated Jono Carroll (16-0-1) on March 15, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Both fighters were in action last December to set up their March meeting perfectly, but there was a slight snag. Farmer enjoyed a UD win over Francisco Fonseca (22-1-1), a win that followed a dominant fifth round stoppage over Northern Irishman James Tennyson in his first defense in Boston in October, but Irishman Carroll was held to a stalemate with tough Frenchman and former European champion Guillaume Frenois (46-1) in a final eliminator in Sheffield. Despite expecting to have to wait his turn, the 'Celtic Warrior' landed his dream world title shot on St. Patrick's Day at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
Farmer joined forces with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN last year, which helped him grow his name in the US, as well across the Atlantic here in the UK, as he and promoter Eddie Hearn chase the division's superstar Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (21-0) for a possible showdown in 2019.
The world champion is living proof that hard work gets you what you want, as he started his professional career in February 2011 with a stoppage loss to fellow debutant Oscar Santana. The young fighter only managed to win half of his first eight contests, suggesting that he wasn't destined for the greatness that he actually went on to achieve. He is an inspiration to all aspiring fighters out there to work hard and never give up. He has now gone unbeaten in the last six years and 22 fights.
‘King Kong’ will have to step up in Farmer’s backyard in Philadelphia, which will be his first taste of world title action. His stalemate with Frenois has caused fight fans to doubt his chances at the top tier. The Prizefighter winner is the proud owner of the IBF Inter-Continental super-featherweight strap, which he claimed in November 2017 with a third-round TKO over Humberto de Santiago (16-4-1), which followed a split decision win over previously unbeaten John Quigley (14-0) for the IBF European.
It's a big step up for the Dubliner, but he goes into the world championship contest with the utmost confidence. This is a warrior who has jumped head first into any challenge offered to him. His first two professional fights were both served on the other side of the world in Australia, then he came back to Ireland to defeat an unbeaten Declan Geraghty (6-0), albeit trailing 30-28 on the scorecards at the time of Geraghty being disqualified for illegal use of the head in the fourth and final round. But then, the 3-0 prospect entered Prizefighter at the York Hall in London and smashed through the two favourites - ex-English and European titlist Stephen Foster (33-5-1) and former British champ Gary Buckland Jr (29-5) - to beat Southern Area champion Michael Devine (13-1-1) in the final.
He then righted the only unsuitably titled 'wrong' by rematching 'Pretty Boy' Geraghty in his 16th fight, convincingly halting his former victim in the ninth stanza.
Carroll could very likely become only the second Irishman to win a world title on American soil in the last 80 years, the other success story being Andy Lee who became the WBO middleweight champion in 2014.
Farmer has not lost a fight in 21 bouts - ignoring the loss-turned-no contest with Ogawa - and shows he is still improving, despite his solidified world champion status. Carroll is arguably the toughest fight to date for Farmer and the pre-match antics could well set up a very close contest. The Irishman's brashness and belief away from home as the challenger is enough to unsettle anyone. The defending world champion will have to bring all of his slickness, skills and quality defence into play, but what makes this fight so intriguing is that both fighters are southpaws and there will inevitably an early battle of wills as they each try to establish their dominence and gain an edge.
Farmer and Carroll have been involved in bitter social media spats as both athletes have gone back and forth with one another in an attempt to get under each other's skin and the press conference became very heated, which resulted in the warring pair being separated twice. Clashes between two athletes being so vocal in the pre-fight events shows just how much both want and value the advantage going into the ring, trying to gain that mental edge, so each know and respect that it's difficult match for them.