The support fights to the main event at Madison Square Garden feature some quality operators.
The chief support comes in the form of the resurgent, and busy, IBF Super Featherweight Champion, Tevin Farmer (27-4-1, 1NC, KO6). He has his third World Title bout in just over four months, as he makes the second defence of his crown against Costa Rican, Francisco Fonseca (22-1-1, KO16).
Farmer is riding the crest of a wave currently. After four defeats and a draw in his first twelve fights, Farmer was seemingly a fighter going nowhere quick. His record sat at 7-4-1 following a stoppage defeat to Jose Pedraza in the last of an eight rounder in 2013. The Philadelphia southpaw hasn’t lost a fight since. He challenged for the vacant IBF Title in December last year, and it seemed as though he had boxed his way to a comfortable win against Kenichi Ogawa, only to be cruelly denied with a split decision verdict going against him. To add to this, the fight was ruled a no contest when the Japanese fighter tested positive for a banned substance post fight. Farmer would have to go to Australia in August this year for another crack at the belt, and he turned in a masterclass to win nearly every round against Billy Dib to win the Title.
He has made one defence since, ruthlessly stopping Irishman James Tennyson in Boston in five rounds just two months ago. Farmer is high on confidence, and a win against Fonseca could open doors for him in 2019.
Fonseca has only lost once in his paid career that began in 2013, with a majority draw on debut in his native Costa Rica. His only defeat came in August last year, when he was knocked out in eight one sided rounds in a challenge for the same Title on the line this Saturday, at the hands of Gervonta Davis. His rebuild since has been modest, with three straight stoppage wins against limited opposition, all taking place in Panama.
Although Farmer is fresh of a stoppage win, he only has six knockouts to his name in 32 outings, so the pick is for the American to pressure fight his way to a wide points victory.
Another busy boxer is Bray, Ireland’s Katie Taylor (11-0, KO5). The WBA and IBF Lightweight Champion rounds off 2018 with her fourth fight of the year. The unbeaten Finn, Eva Wahlstrom (22-0-1, KO3) will be the opposition in New York over ten, two minute rounds. Southpaw Wahlstrom has never boxed outside of Finland, and is moving up from Super Featherweight, where she reigned as WBC Champion. The smart money is on a Taylor masterclass, winning every round before taking a formality of a wide points decision.
Big punching Canadian crowd pleaser, David Lemieux (40-4, KO34) takes on Tureano Johnson (20-2, KO14) in a twelve rounder at Middleweight. Johnson hasn’t been seen since a twelfth and final round stoppage defeat at the hands of Sergiy Deravyanchenko in August last year, while Lemieux destroyed Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan inside a round last time out in September. Although Johnson is durable, Lemieux is a massive puncher at this level, and I expect him to halt the Bahamian by halfway.
Sadam Ali (26-2, KO14) moves down to Welterweight as he returns from a crushing four round loss to Jaime Munguia, who relieved him of his WBO Super Welterweight Title in May. Ali gained the Title by bringing the curtain down on Miguel Cotto’s glittering career with a points win last December. His opponent for a ten rounder on the bill is Mauricio Herrera (24-7, KO7), who is possibly best known for a majority points loss to Danny Garcia in a challenge for the WBC and WBA (Super) Super Lightweight Titles back in 2014. He is also a former Interim Champion at Super Lightweight. Ali should be able to get the job done comfortably enough on the cards.