Made for TV

Fort Valley boxer gears up for primetime

By Henry Culvyhouse

FORT VALLEY — A local professional boxer is gearing up for the biggest fight of his career later this week.

Boxing since he was 9 years old, Andrew “Doo Man” Farmer turned professional in 2006 after winning the state golden gloves championship 10 consecutive years. The Fort Valley native will face internationally ranked (No. 15) junior welterweight Danny “Bhoy” O’Connor on Thursday night in his first televised match in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Billed as the “Monster Mash,” the bout will be aired on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes at 9 p.m.

Andrew Farmer said the idea of being on television does not make him nervous.

“It’s more a reward for my career and the work that I’ve done,” Farmer said. “It’s more the icing on the cake. We’ve had opportunities to fight on pay-per-view before, but the opportunity wasn’t right. This time, the stars have lined up.”

With an 18-2 fight record, Farmer is a formidable match for O’Connor, who has won 23 out of 25 matches. Scott Farmer, Andrew’s father and trainer, said while public opinion in Massachusetts is in O’Connor’s favor, Andrew Farmer is more than ready, having trained with DeMarcus Corley, a former world junior welterweight champion.

“We can prove the public wrong. We’ve been training steady for about two and a half months,” Scott Farmer said. “We’ve been increasing our sparring, our rounds and step-it-up by boxing world champions.”

In preparation for the match, Andrew and his father have reviewed tapes of O’Connor’s past bouts, in hopes of identifying areas of weakness. Andrew Farmer said while reviewing the tapes is a good way to size up a fighter, it can only tell him so much.

“We know what he is, we know how he fights and we hope we got the recipe to upset him,” Farmer said. “But we can only devise a game plan so much, because things change when you step in the ring and start getting fists to the face.”

One of the main differences between Farmer and O’Connor is their stances, with Farmer leading with his right hand and O’Connor striking a southpaw, or left-handed, stance. Andrew Farmer said the difference will not faze him.

“It isn’t going to effect [me] because Corley is a southpaw and my chief sparring partner,” Farmer said. “It has no bearing whatsoever. If you let it mess with your mind, it will, but you just got to go in there and fight your fight.”

Originally the bout was scheduled to be on St. Patrick’s Day of 2014, but O’Connor had to drop out of the fight due to an injury sustained in training. The Oct. 30 fight will be O’Connor’s first time in the ring in more than a year.

Andrew Farmer said he does not think O’Connor’s absence from the ring will have any effect on the match.

“If you don’t have much experience, a long layoff will hurt you,” Andrew Farmer said. “I expect him to be on his ‘A’ game regardless of the layoff or not.”

Scott Farmer said while O’Connor has been training with world champions in Texas, he has confidence that his son will hold his own.

“We’ve been doing this for a long, long time and I have the confidence,” Scott Farmer said. “Again, a lot of it is mental, if you let your mind get jittery and nervous, you won’t do as well. But Andrew’s been in a lot of fights, a lot of sparring, he knows what to do.”

Andrew Farmer said come fight night, he’s going to be calm.

“I’ve seen guys do 200 push-ups before they put on their gloves, run around the dressing room yelling and screaming,” Andrew Farmer said. “It’s my opinion they’re just wasting their energy in the dressing room. I stay calm, cool and collected right until my foot hits the ring.”

O’Connor’s fan base is expected to show up en masse to the event, where they are expected to cheer and beat on drums in order to rattle Farmer. Andrew Farmer said such crowd tactics will not effect his performance.

“All the pressure is on him to perform,” Farmer said. “Being the underdog is easy. It’s when you got the pressure on you to win, trying to appease everybody. It’s easy to let it get you when you’re boxing at home.”

While the Fort Valley is not a well known boxing town, Scott Farmer said Andrew has been receiving his fair share of local attention as well.

“People around Fort Valley have been getting riled up about it,” Farmer said. “All them are going to be around the TV come 9 p.m. Thursday.”

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com