The doctor is in -- the ring: A medical school grad, Tuscarora alum Devar Ferhadi back to boxing

·4 min read

Jun. 5—Peruse the Instagram account of Devar Ferhadi and notice the various images that are commingled, almost at odds with one another given the two drastically different fields represented in them.

There's Ferhadi, smiling in teal medical scrubs.

There's Ferhadi, perhaps smiling as he lands a left jab to an opponent's forehead, producing a sweat splash.

There's Ferhadi, in a white collared shirt and checkered tie with a stethoscope around his neck and what appears to be lab coat draped over his arm.

There's Ferhadi, bare-chested on the promo poster for an event that takes place Saturday in Philadelphia.

Ferhadi, a Tuscarora High alum, is the author of what he likes to say is "boxing's best-kept secret." This Kurdish American super middleweight is also a 2019 graduate of Hawler Medical University in Erbil, Iraq. Over the past four years, that lofty educational pursuit rightly interrupted Ferhadi's avocation.

But with his diploma in hand, he can now use his fists more often.

"I don't know any other story like it," he said of his own bio. "And I work in the ring to prove that my ability is up to par so it gives the story some credence. The thing that makes the story so valuable is that it's accompanied by real boxing ability."

Ferhadi, 26, is 8-0 in a professional career that began in 2012. Fighting mostly regionally, he cut his teeth through the years by racking up wins over competition that had a combined 15-32-2 record.

His last bout was on Dec. 6, 2019, a TKO of Vincent Baccus. Despite signing a contract in 2016 with Pennsylvania-based Kings Promotion, Ferhadi's sporadic appearances in the ring made it hard for him to make a leap — although he'd gained a serious reputation with a left hook that quickly became his signature strike.

Since earning his bachelor's degrees in medicine and surgery back in his native country, he's ready to renew his focus on boxing. Jengawar, as he's known, started hashtagging photos of himself with "TheRebirth."

"I do see it that way," he said by phone Friday. "I'm starting to dial in a little bit more on my goals and future objectives, and really most of it is fulfilling my potential and what I'm capable of in both the medical field and, today and tomorrow, the boxing world."

Jason Boyer, who has trained Ferhadi since he was a middle-schooler, believes Ferhadi — now in his physical prime — is ready to become a more substantial player in the game.

"We are making our run now," Boyer said via text message. "Only the toughest opponents and bigger fights. We want 'the question' answered now. ... The 'how good are we' question."

On Friday, Ferhadi weighed in at 167.8 pounds for his super middleweight bout at 2300 Arena against Blake Mansfield (7-3-1). Fights start at 3 p.m. Saturday, and the event can be streamed at bxngtv.com, where Ferhadi hopes to put on a show.

"I'm an action fighter. At the end of the day I'm 8-0, seven knockouts for a reason," said Ferhadi, whose home gym is Frederick's Bowerhouse MMA. "I'm an action fighter. I'm not the type to just move around and pitter-patter. I bring excitement. I bring entertainment."

Mansfield lost via TKO in his most recent fight against Aaron Casper on Nov. 7, 2020. Ferhadi said Mansfield could be at "a bit of a crossroads," hoping to gain momentum by smudging Ferhadi's record for the first time.

But Ferhadi also seeks a propellant. If he achieves his goal of victory Saturday, more frequent fights could be on the horizon — even as he attempts to work through the process of taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

As Ferhadi said, among his fellow pugilists, his background is not common knowledge. But he plans to begin changing that, starting Saturday against Mansfield. A strong showing could lead to more bouts, more chances for his "best-kept secret" to get out.

"I'm playing every decision fight by fight and also playing it by opportunity," he said. "I need the right fight to come along and the right opportunity to come along.

"If the right opportunities do come along, I'd like to be fighting more frequently and have an opportunity to break through to the next level of this sport."