Boxer Tevin Farmer defended his 130 pound crown on Thursday evening, in Miami, against Jo Jo Diaz, in a contest which screened on DAZN's streaming platform, and served to give boxing fans tuning in that old familiar sinking stomach feeling.
The Philly fighter Farmer, age 29, represents to hardcore fans and perhaps even more so, fighters, that one can aborb some losses early on, and keep grinding, and get to the title shot promised land. Farmer was 7-4-1, started as a pro with a stoppage loss, and then something clicked, and he started winning, and didn't stop.
Until Thursday night–Diaz fought strong and his stamina kept steady, for 12 rounds.
The Golden Boy Promotions pugilist heard those majestic words…”and the newwwwww,” and he went into exultation mode after the tallies were shared: 115-113, 115-113, 116-112, Diaz could now wrap the IBF 130 strap around his waist.
Farmer proved himself a class act, saluting the Cali boxer, and then watchers heard that he was going to the hospital.
And attention shifted, and any and all had their fingers crossed.
Oh, no, not again, there's been too much darkness, too many fighters succumbing to brain trauma. Please let him be OK…
Analyst Sergio Mora had noted that he saw Farmer blinking, in irregular fashion, during the clash. And anyone who leaned in and read Farmers' body language picked up on something–you'd see him jerk his head up, look toward the ceiling, once, then twice. It looked involuntary, like a tic.
Minds wandered and pondered…did a second round head clash impair the fighter, who battles under the DiBella Entertainment banner?
Lou DiBella insisted Farmer go to the hospital, and the Hall of Fame promoter checked in with NY Fights, to update us and Farmer's fans his condition.
He's OK, Dibella said, a few hours after the Diaz upset win.
Farmer wasn't complaining of a heafache, or nausea, not showing any signs of head trauma. Docs were giving him a thorough going over, he would be getting Catscans and the like, making sure he didn't sustain a brain injury. Again, he wasn't showing any of those typical signs that we so worry about, DiBella reiterated. But the blinking, the head jerks, people picked up on it, and so, Dibella said, better safe than sorry, Farmer will get a rigorous battery of tests.
Viewers saw Diaz being busier, pushing forward, telling the judges that this was his time. But that other issue…In round three, Farmer (31-5-1 with six KOs) did the head jerk. Again, in round four. This was a more than occasional occurence, and the audience could see it when the fighters had distance between them, and neither were in the act of throwing. “It's like there's something wrong with his eyes,” said Sergio Mora during the fifth. “Blinking,” he picked up on, “and he's looking at the clock, too,” the color man said. He was referring to the quick head jerks, chin up.
During the heat of that action, most all were focused mostly on how well Diaz was doing, they sensed that he could take this, as we moved toward the last third of the bout. Farmer was taking more clean shots than we're accustomed to seeing, for sure. Where was his typical defensive wizardry, Mora noted in round nine. Yep, he's not “on” tonight, noted Chris Mannix, on air.
After the scored were announced, bang, on cue, Farmer did a head jerk as he turned toward trainer Chino Rivas. He was ushered then, to the hospital, after doing an in ring analysis, with interviewer Mannix. We saw a subtle head jerk, as he listened to Mannix' first query. “It didn't look like the usual Tevin Farmer, what happened out there?”
“He put up a helluva fight, that's all I can say,” Farmer said, admitting he did hurt his hand in round one. “No excuses,” he said, Diaz was ON, but that hurt hand, his right, kept him from jabbing.
You watched, on replay, and looked twice…was he more stoopped, head more bent, than per usual, when doing an interview? And while you watched a replay, you had those fingers crossed.
Diaz, age 27, rose to 31-1 with the UD, and he deserves props for not being put off by the massive gash on his left eye. That slice came about from a clash of heads, for the record, in round two.
Nothing should be detracting from his effort, but yes, Tevin Farmer was not his best self in that Miami ring…and we all wish he checks out all good, and gets what he wants, a rematch with the new champ.
Here is the release DAZN sent out after the program ended:
MIAMI, Jan. 30, 2020 – Miami Fight Night was electric. YouTube stars, professional athletes and celebrities packed the Meridian at Island Gardens on Thursday night ahead of the big game in Miami, and live on DAZN. Thousands in attendance witnessed undefeated middleweight star Demetrius Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) earn a 9th-round stoppage victory over contender Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs).
Andrade defended his WBO World Middleweight title for the fourth time tonight and called out WBO World Super Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders and WBC World Middleweight Titlist Jermall Charlo after his dominating performance.
In the chief support bout, Jake “The Problem Child” Paul put on a show in his professional debut with a dominating first-round TKO victory over “7-Figure Gibber” AnEsonGib. Paul is on a mission to avenge the loss his brother Logan suffered to KSI in November 2019.
After the fight, KSI entered the ring and the two exchanged words as they continue along their inevitable collision course.
Earlier in the evening, JoJo Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs) bested Tevin Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs) by unanimous decision to claim the IBF Super Featherweight Title. Diaz was cut by an accidental head butt in the second round but persevered to claim his first world title. Super Bantamweight phenom Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) toppled Daniel Roman (27-3-1, 10 KOs) to capture the WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles in the first world championship fight of the evening. Akhmadaliev, in just his eighth professional fight, catapults himself into the record books as he ties Leon Spinks as the fastest male unified world champion in history.
Quotes from Miami
On his performance: “I thought it was good. Luke Keeler is a warrior, a future champion. But not today, today was my day. I took him to deep waters and I sunk him.”
On his game plan: “I went in there and thought I could put him out. So I took him out. I showed him I am not delusional. I got more knockdowns than I do fights, baby. I am entertaining. You gotta love it, I come to put on a show every time.”
On wanting the big fights: “Listen, I wanted to go up to 168 to fight Billy Joe ‘Joke-Ass’ Saunders and that’s what I am looking to do. Since Eddie has that big checkbook, that big bank, give Billy that check too so I can whoop his ass.”
On Jermall Charlo: “I’m not giving up on that. Eddie Hearn sent the offer and didn’t get a response. If they want to send an offer this way, we will respond. Let’s get it on, Jermall. The boogeyman is here, baby.”
On his performance: “That was lit. I caught the boxing bug. I put the work in and I am in love with this sport. With my power and speed, I was able to take him out in the first round.”
On his greatest attribute: “I dedicated the past three months of my life to this up in Big Bear, California with Shane Mosley. I worked my balls off with two-a-days. You said this was my best competitor – ‘he’s 2-0, he has energy, he has stamina, he is the beast from the Middle East.’ I took him out in one round. I didn’t even get to showcase my full boxing ability. It was all natural extinct once it started.”
On the knockdowns: “The first knockdown was a jab. One thing we worked on in camp was really, really stiff jabs. My jab has that right hand power behind it. This is surreal. Shane Mosley told me it was going to end in one round. I started visualizing the first round knockout and it happened.”
On what’s next: “KSI is next. Where is he at? He is getting clocked. I didn’t have to win by two points like him. You see your best friend? You beat my brother by a bad call. Let’s make it happen.”
On Jake seeking to avenge his loss against KSI: “I think Jake proved tonight that it is all about him. This has nothing to do with me. It’s hella noble that he wants to redeem the Paul name. But I just think he is doing a great job. I will back him on that mission. Whatever my brother needs, I got him. I want to make it happen. DAZN, make it happen!”
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz
On his performance: “I think I needed to learn from the adversity that God put me through. I want to be an influence. You can overcome anything if you believe. I stayed focused and I got the W this time.”
On how the cut impacted his approach: “It didn’t change the fight at all. I just pretended it wasn’t there. I just see it right now and that shit is f**king deadly. It’s ugly as hell. I think in the second round we clashed heads and it started leaking. But I am a warrior, fighting through that is what champions do. This is my only opportunity, I had to take advantage of it.”
On how he adjusted after the cut: “If I would’ve changed the game plan due to the cut, I would have gotten tight. I would’ve gotten tense and then tired in the later rounds. I trusted my corner and kept my composure.”
On Tevin being more offensive than usual: “I just want to say that Tevin Farmer is a hell of a fighter. He has been through everything. He has been shot in the head, he has four losses and came back. He battled back in his career. I know we are going to have a rematch.”
On rematch clause: “Yeah, I will talk to my manager and Golden Boy Promotions and see what they want to do. I am just so excited. I have been dreaming about this moment for a long time. I want to thank my friends and family and everyone who came out here tonight to support me.”
On his performance: “He put up a hell of a fight. That’s all I can say. I messed my hand up in the first round, you could probably tell. But he fought a hell of a fight. I couldn’t use my jab the way I wanted. There’s no excuses though. He capitalized on the injury. He must have seen it and that’s what champions do.
On the rematch: “We will do this again. I want the immediate rematch. I hope we can do it in April or May, or whenever the team decided to run it back.”
On his performance: “I cannot describe what I am feeling. I have never been a world champion, not even in the amateurs. It never happened for me. Now I am the first in the history of Uzbekistan to be the unified champion. This is something incredible.”
On never going the distance before: “First of all, Danny Roman is the most proven 122-pounder in the world. He has been in wars in his career. I was preparing for the best in my division. It was a hell of a fight and Danny was even better than I expected. It was a great fight.”
On his performance: “I think I won the fight, at least by a point. It was a close fight. MJ is a hell of a fighter – a strong fighter. I made the adjustments but I just came up short.”
On his game plan: “MJ is a complicated fighter. I had a plan but at the last minute it changed. He was the better man tonight.
On what’s next: “I am a fighter, i will fight anyone they put in front of me. MJ was my WBA mandatory and it cost me a lot to get that belt so I wanted to keep it. But we can learn a lot in victory and a lot in defeat. I would like a rematch if MJ will give me one. This is going to make me stronger, just like the other two losses did for me.”
12-Round WBO Middleweight Title Bout @160 lbs.
Demetrius Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) defeated Luke Keeler (17-3-1, 5 KOs) via TKO at 2:59 of Round 9.
6-Round Cruiserweight Bout @ 193 lbs.
Jake Paul (1-0) defeated AnEsonGib (0-1) via TKO at 2:18 of Round 1.
12-Round IBF Super Featherweight Title Bout @ 130 lbs.
JoJo Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs) defeated Tevin Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs) via unanimous decision (115-113 x2, 116-112)
12-Round WBA & IBF Super Bantamweight Title Bout @ 122 lbs.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) defeated Daniel Roman(27-3-1, 10 KOs) via split decision (115-113 x2, 113-115)
Boxing on DAZN continues when rising lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia looks to defend his WBC Silver Lightweight Title against Francisco Fonseca at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Feb. 14 – live on DAZN.
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