By Jake Donovan
The back and forth continues—which hopefully results in Tevin Farmer and Joseph Diaz Jr. meeting in the ring later this year.
The pair of super featherweights have spent much of 2019 going after one another through social media—and at times in person, but just not in the ring—in efforts to build towards an eventual head-on collision. Philadelphia’s Farmer (30-4-1, 6KOs) made room on his schedule after claiming wins in back-to-back mandatory title defenses, giving himself free reign until at least next summer. With the ability to proceed with a title defense, he’d previously targeted a unification bout with unbeaten Gervonta Davis but has since moved on to Diaz (29-1, 15KOs) after watching that two-belt ship sail.
From there has come public disputes between camps, with Farmer questioning why Diaz would announce a Sept. 21 fight in Mexico when he’s been offered a chance to fight for the title in November. That claim was met with a response from Golden Boy Promotions wondering aloud when such a fight was formally presented.
“Tevin Farmer’s camp and promoter haven’t made any offer to fight JoJo Diaz,” Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions told BoxingScene.com in response to such a claim. “It’s simply not true.”
It’s actually the one part of the conversation where both sides agree.
“When did we ever claim we made them an offer,” Lou DiBella, Farmer’s longtime promoter rhetorically asked BoxingScene.com on Monday, in response to Gomez's claim. “How can I make an offer to them? DAZN is a closed shop, Eddie (Hearn, who is still part of Team Farmer) has the dates, Golden Boy has the dates. Tevin is a DAZN fighter, Jo Jo Diaz is a DAZN fighter. This shouldn't be hard to do. But I can't offer them DAZN money that I don't have."
Farner's co-promotional deal with Hearn's Matchroom Boxing USA ended with his most recent fight, a 12-round win over France's Guillaume Frenois in July, although the two sides will continue to work together at least through his next fight. The aforementioned win came four months after his previous mandatory title defense, beating previously unbeaten Jono Carroll in a Philly homecoming appearance this past March. Wedged in between has been plenty of back-and-forth with California’s Diaz (29-1, 15KOs), mostly through social media but also face to face this past May.
Their encounter came prior to Diaz—a 2012 U.S. Olympian—scoring his latest win, a 7th round knockout of Freddy Fonseca. He’s now claimed three straight victories since falling short in a featherweight title bid versus Gary Russell Jr. last May, serving as his lone career loss.
What he hasn't yet claimed, however, are official grounds on which to demand a title shot versus Farmer, who has held the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title since last August and with four title defenses to his name.
"And by the way," DiBella pointed out, "how can we even pursue a title fight with Diaz when Golden Boy didn't even get him ranked with the IBF?”
Whether versus Diaz or anyone else, Farmer plans to return to the ring sometime in November. Such a pace will give him six title fights in a span of just 15 months, surpassing Jaime Munguia—who enters his sixth title fight in 16 months come Sept. 14—as boxing’s most active current titlist.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox