Tevin Farmer isn’t looking past Raymond Muratalla, but he is looking through him.

Farmer, the former IBF junior lightweight champion, will take on the undefeated top lightweight contender Muratallla on a Top Rank ESPN card Saturday from Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Farmer sees Muratalla as a stepping stone to his goal of becoming a two-time world titleholder.  

“I don’t know [Muratalla] too well. I’ve known him for the past 10 weeks because that’s when they offered the fight,” Farmer (33-5-1, 8 KOs) told BoxingScene. “I’ve watched him – solid fighter, really good, young, hungry and he’s looking to take on one of the best defensive fighters ever and that’s me.  

“I’ve definitely watched him. I usually don’t watch tape, but now that I’m older, I’m like, ‘What’s the point of not watching somebody?’ I think when we’re younger, we have the mentality of, ‘I’m not watching this guy’ and all that. But as I got older, I asked myself, ‘What’s the reason for not watching when you can have that advantage?’ So, I’ve watched him. He’s definitely a great fighter.”

It’s been a long journey to reach this point again for Farmer. After capturing the IBF strap in December 2017, Farmer made four world title defenses before losing it via decision to Joseph Diaz in January 2020. 

Farmer wouldn’t fight again until June 2023, when he ended his near-40 month layoff with a 10-round decision over Avery Sparrow. He’s since fought two more times, scoring a sixth-round KO of Oscar Barajas last fall followed by a first-round KO over Alan Castillo in March. 

Farmer says he has rediscovered his love for the gym during his comeback. For this camp, the southpaw says he has already spent nearly 11 weeks preparing for Muratalla. 

“Technically, I’d say more than that because I’m in the gym all the time,” Farmer said. “When this is what you do, it really becomes second nature. It’s more hectic when I don’t have a fight or when I’m not training.

“When I don’t train, I feel like I’m lost in this world, to be honest – besides me doing other things. I get anxiety like, damn, I need to do something. I love training.”

Muratalla (20-0, 16 KOs) represents a significant step up in class when compared to Farmer’s last three opponents. The 27-year-old California product has earned a place among the world’s top lightweights with wins that include an impressive second-round TKO over hard-hitting Namibian Jeremiah Nakathila in May 2023.

Farmer says he’s ready for it all.

“I don’t really know how the fight will play out because in boxing one shot can change a fight, so I don’t really know,” said Farmer, of Philadelphia. “I only know I’m going to give my all. I mean I’ve got to be careful and just be me and don’t rush things.”

Muratalla is rated No. 2 by both the WBC and WBO, meaning a win over him could place Farmer right back in line for a world title.

Asked who he wants next, Farmer said his eyes are only on Saturday’s prize.

“Muratalla is the man I want to fight,” he said. “I can’t really choose any other particular lightweight because I’m ready to fight anybody. I’m definitely going to get a world title right after this.

“I’m a former champ so it makes it easier. I win this fight and I’m right there.”

Bernard Neequaye is a sports journalist with a specialty in boxing coverage. He wrote a boxing column titled “From The Ringside” back in his native Ghana for years. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter) at @BernardNeequaye, LinkedIn at Bernard Neequaye and through email at [email protected].

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