Billy Dib – 3rd August 2018 – Farmer W UD 12
Farmer’s first outright title win. The Philadelphia native was too fast and too slick for Dib, who was second best in pretty much every department for the duration of the 12 rounds. The loss was Dib’s fourth in as many world title attempts, after two fights against Evgeny Gradovich and one against Takashi Miura ended in defeat for the Australian. He bounced back with a routine win over the unheard of Surachet Tongmala 8 months later, before jumping three divisions at late notice to fight Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia last July as a last-minute replacement. He was dropped in the second round and dismissed in the fourth of what was, on the whole, an unsavoury event. He did end 2019 on a high however, with a points win over undefeated Vietnamese fighter Van Thao Tran (who had fought no one of note, and who was also climbing two division for the opportunity). Dib has enjoyed modest success since fighting Farmer, but he may have one more roll of the dice left in him before he calls it a day.
James Tennyson – 20th October 2018 – Farmer W TKO 5
A very good first defence that showed the gap between the champion and those below him. Farmer was on excellent form, and made a statement of intent to the rest of the division when he stopped the plucky Northern Irishman after 5 one-sided rounds. Tennyson had been stopped on two previous occasions, but each time had bounced back to enjoy an improved run of form. This defeat was no different; he has fought 4 times since Farmer stopped him, all of which he won by knockout. Most notably, Atif Shareeq was stopped in two, earning Tennyson the WBA International title, while former European champion Craig Evans was stopped in the 11th to arguably give him his best win. Now a lightweight, Tennyson isn’t too far away from another big opportunity.
Francisco Fonseca – 15th December 2018 – Farmer W UD 12
A potential banana skin avoided. Fonseca’s first 12 rounder was an ‘in-at-the-deep-end’ affair against the explosive Gervonta Davis, who stopped him in 8 rounds. The fight against Farmer was his third, and his increased experience was enough to see him to the final bell, but not enough to get the win as Farmer outboxed him to earn himself a decision. Since then, Fonseca racked up three domestic wins in Nicaragua and Costa Rica against limited but competent opposition (two of them had won regional titles), and he was unlucky to return home with a victory (and the IBO world title) after battling Alex Dilmaghani to a disputed draw in the UK. Fonseca, with a little refining, could yet succeed in the sport, and he gets another chance to do so next month – he faces Golden Boy starlet Ryan Garcia in Anaheim for the WBC Silver strap.
Jono Carroll – 15th March 2019 – Farmer W UD 12
Carroll isn’t a knockout artist, but he is not afraid of confrontation and has a machine-like work rate that earned him European and Inter-continental honours en route to his shot at world honours. Farmer, however, once again proved his class. Carroll gave an excellent account of himself but was hurt in the process, and the championship rounds were tough affairs. He lost no dignity in defeat, and bounced back with a win on his Mexican debut 5 months later against local gatekeeper Eleazar Valenzuela, putting him back in contention for fights against meaningful opposition. A contest with Scott Quigg, originally slated for the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz undercard, is now booked for the 7th of March in Manchester, a brilliant must-win contest for both men. If Carroll emerges victorious, another title shot will not be far away.
Guillaume Frenois, 27th July 2019 – Farmer W UD 12
A rugged, highly experienced Frenchman who fought Jono Carroll to a draw, he forced Farmer into a scrappy contest that prevented the American from sitting within his comfort zone. He could not, however, earn himself a win. The fight wasn’t pretty and the crowd booed their displeasure at times, but Farmer emerged with a win in his fifth world title bout in under a year’s worth of fighting. Frenois, who has made no known plans since facing Farmer, is considering his options. At 36 years of age, if we have indeed seen him in the ring for a final time, he will leave the sport with a very respectable resume; his 46-2-1 record spanned 13 years, saw him win national titles at featherweight and European (twice) and International titles at super-feather, where he also challenged for a world title. For all the boxers who achieve such honours, there are a hundred times as many who don’t – Frenois can hold his career in high regard.