There is a distinct Irish feel for the latest Matchroom USA/DAZN offering this Friday night at The Liacouras Centre in Philadelphia. A smart move on St Patrick’s Day weekend.
Sky Sports is again the UK broadcaster, while DAZN of course describe the action in the USA.
The outstanding Bray star, Katie Taylor will feature in the undercard preview. Here I preview the main event, which sees a Dubliner gain a first attempt at World Title Glory.
Tevin Farmer (28-4-1, KO6) v Jono Carroll (16-0-1, KO3) – 12 Rounds, IBF Featherweight Title
When Jono Carroll just about managed a split draw with Frenchman Guillaume Frenois in Sheffield four months ago, it seemed his shot at the IBF Title might have gone up in smoke. He is somewhat fortunate to have still received a World Title shot, as the Frenois contest was meant to be an eliminator for the belt. In the City of brotherly love this Friday, he aims to grab his second chance with both hands.
His opponent though is one of the most improved fighters of the last few years. Tevin Farmer will defend his IBF Super Featherweight Title in front of a home crowd, although there may be a fair amount of Irish support to combat this.
After three losses and a draw in his first eight fights since his debut in 2011, Farmer is unbeaten in twenty-one fights since an October 2012 last round stoppage defeat at the hands of Jose Pedraza.
There has been another loss, but thankfully, this was changed to a no contest. Farmer challenged for the vacant IBF Title in December 2017 in Las Vegas against Kenichi Ogawa, and lost a highly controversial split decision in a fight most thought he won. The result was later amended due to Ogawa testing positive for a banned substance.
Farmer didn’t let this setback hold him back, and in August 2018, although he had to travel to Australia, he finally captured the IBF crown with an impressive and wide points win over the respected Billy Dib.
He has defended without too much trouble twice since. He saw off another Irish challenger in James Tennyson in October 2018, scoring a rare fifth round stoppage after knocking his opponent down twice. In his last outing, just two months later, he handily outpointed Francisco Fonseca at Madison Square Garden.
Carroll is coming off the first blemish on his professional record. Although Guillaume Frenois was 46-1 at the time of their December 2018 meeting, his record was a suspected padded one, and the fight was expected to be little more than a pathway to Farmer, with Farmer and Carroll already trading Social Media insults. Frenois didn’t read the script though, and gave Jono a tough nights work. He was unfortunate not to get his hand raised in the end, with a perfect three way split draw the verdict.
Dubliner Carroll had built his way to the top end of the IBF rankings by holding their Intercontinental belt, which he won with a third round stoppage of Humberto de Santiago in Belfast in November 2017. He defended by settling a grudge with Declan Geraghty in June 2018, following a disqualification win in November 2014 for illegal use of the head, despite being ahead in the fight. Caroll stopped Geraghty in nine rounds.
This is a big step up for “King Kong” and a draw in his last fight doesn’t breed confidence. This is for a World Title however, so the motivation will be huge for the likeable Irishman.
Farmer is maturing into a classy Champion, and is a hard nights work for most in his division. Carroll’s confidence would have been dented by the Frenois draw, and it depends if he can stay patient through the fight and not rush his work.
Both men aren’t noted knockout artists, so I can only see the contest going the full twelve rounds. I favour Farmer’s smart boxing to trump Carroll’s rough in fighting, and although the Irishman has a great engine, I predict a comfortable points win for the Philadelphian.