On Thursday, Tevin Farmer and Joseph Diaz will finally settle their differences in the ring.
The long-brewing grudge match found a home on a pre-Super Bowl card taking place Jan. 30 at the Meridian at Island Gardens in Miami, Florida.
The junior lightweight title fight will take place three days prior to Super Bowl LIV, which will be held at nearby Hard Rock Stadium.
Philadelphia’s Farmer (30-4-1, 6KOs) will make the fifth defense of the 130-pound title he claimed in a 12-round win over Billy Dib on the road last August on the road in Australia. His four title defenses all took place in the span of just over nine months, knocking out James Tennyson in three rounds and then racking up a trip of points wins over Francisco Fonseca last December in New York City, Ireland’s Jono Carroll in his Philadelphia hometown and, most recently, Guillaume Frenois this past July in Arlington, Texas.
Wedged in between his wins over previously unbeaten Carroll and France’s Frenois came a hostile run-in with California’s Diaz (30-1, 15KOs) this past May in Las Vegas. Diaz was preparing for a fight on the undercard of World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, eventually scoring a knockout win over Freddy Fonseca—Francisco’s older brother—but not before getting into a well-publicized verbal altercation with Farmer, who was merely in town as an interested observer of the card as a whole.
Diaz took on a stay-busy fight while waiting on a second career title fight, though perhaps providing more harm than good as the 2012 U.S. Olympian suffered an injury en route to a 12-round majority decision win over Jesus Cuadro this past September in his first career fight in Mexico.
The win was the fourth straight for Diaz following his lone career loss, a competitive but clear 12-round defeat to Gary Russell Jr. in a failed featherweight title bid last May.
“I don’t want easy fights; I could have gone down an easier route but that wouldn’t satisfy me. I want to go out and prove that I will fight the best and I want to win a world title by taking it from the champ. Tevin is the best fighter at 130lbs now and I want to dethrone him and that would be the most satisfying way to achieve my dream," Diaz said.
“If he wants to bang in there that’s cool with me, that’s my cup of tea, but if wants to move around and create his angles and be slick how he is, trust me, I have got everything to capitalize and land the shots to hurt him, slow him down and land devastating shots. I don’t see it going 12 rounds, I think I will hurt him and make him feel my shots. I’m happy and ready to go 12 rounds with him though, I’m not going to go in swinging for the fence, that’s what he wants. I’ll fight a smart fight."
Diaz and Golden Boy Promotions agreed to terms on their side last month, while Farmer—proudly represented by Hall of Fame promoter Lou DiBella—was eagerly as willing but forced to wait out other details as a deal was being negotiated through Eddie Hearn, the primary content provider for DAZN. Hearn is also the lead promoter for the Jan. 30 card and has co-promoted each of Farmer’s last four fights.
Farmer initially hoped for this fight to take place in November. That time frame was pushed back after Diaz’s aforementioned minor injury, and further delayed as he awaited his marching orders. Just days ago, it appeared the waiting period would extend through February, but a hit to the show helped in part to speed along the process for this fight.
Unified 122-pound titlist Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10KOs) will make a mandatory defense versus precocious unbeaten contender Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6KOs). The bout was initially due to take place in September, only for Roman to suffer an injury which caused the postponement.
Also on the card is unbeaten middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17KOs) in a voluntary title defense versus Ireland’s Luke Keeler (17-2-1, 5KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox