When Tevin Farmer and Dardan Zenunaj square off Friday, Dec. 2, at the 2300 Arena, it will mark the 38th anniversary of Peltz Boxing’s first world champion.
The title was brought home by Marvin Johnson, of Indianapolis, IN, who knocked out Mate Parlov, of Yugoslavia, to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) light-heavyweight title in Marsala, Sicily.
Johnson went on to become the first three-time world light-heavyweight champion, winning the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt in 1979 by knocking out Victor Galindez, of Argentina, in New Orleans, and finally the WBA crown again in 1986 when he stopped Leslie Stewart, of Trinidad, in Indianapolis.
“Marvin Johnson had a simple philosophy about boxing,” Peltz recalled Keith Jackson, of ABC-TV, once saying on a broadcast: “When the bell rings, you start fighting.”
Peltz believes Johnson deserves to be on the ballot for the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY.
“It’s a travesty that he’s not even on the ballot,” Peltz said. “He was 43-6, 35 K0s, and his two fights with Saad Muhammad are all-time classics. Five of his six losses were to world champions (Saad twice, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Michael Spinks and Stewart in a rematch) and the decision loss in Serbia to contender Lottie Mwale, of Zambia, was questionable.”
Though he is not Tevin Farmer’s promoter, Peltz also sees a bright future for the junior lightweight from Philadelphia.
“I spent some time recently with Tevin in Monte Carlo when Jason Sosa was defending his WBA junior lightweight title,” Peltz said. “Tevin is confident of his ability without being cocky. He believes there is no one in the world at 130 pounds, including Vasyl Lomachenko, who can beat him and that’s a good way for any fighter to feel. Lou DiBella (promoter) has a real solid fighter on his hands. The problem will be getting one of the champs to fight him.”
First Farmer has to defeat Zenunaj, who is 12-2, 9 K0s, and comes here with a nice win over previously unbeaten Bryant Cruz, of New York, who was 16-0 at the time.
Zenunaj is a tough, walk-in styled fighter who can get rough on the inside. He may not be able to match Farmer’s quickness, so he will have to attack the body and rough things up on the inside.
Farmer cannot afford to look past Friday if he wants to be another world champion from Philadelphia in 2017.