…as 15 April nears
Preparations to get the 40-second specialist Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo ready to face world champion Ricky Burn are going well in the Sunshine stable. Indongo became a home favourite last December when he knocked out Russian Eduard Troynosky on home soil in a first round 40 seconds to rip away the IBF belt.
When Indongo knocked out the Russian, he by default became Ricky’s next target.
“It is a huge fight in the division and the kind of fight I need to be involved in at this stage of my career. There were other names talked about but I wanted the toughest, most dangerous fight out there. Indongo with his two belts was the man,” Ricky told SkySport early this year.
The clock is ticking and the road to the Burns-Indongo fight scheduled for 15 April in Glasgow, Scotland, is just around the corner.
By countdown, the duo only has 57 days before stepping into the ring to iron out who the best man is, in a fight that separates boys from men.
The unification battle will see Burns put his WBA tittle and Indongo his IBF belt on the line and best man takes them all.
Upon the announcement of the fight that will see the two step into the ring to give their all, British media has dubbed Ricky as the favourite with reference to his impressive record.
The Scot became a three-weight world champion last year by defeating Michele Di Rocco and survived a scare to defend the belt against Kiryl Relikh last October.
On the other hand, Indongo bids to confirm his status as a road warrior after snatching the IBF title with a devastating knock-out of Troyanovsky in Moscow in December.
According to an analysis on boxingnews24 by Scott Gilfoid, the move to fight Indongo is a technical escape to face tougher opponents.
“This is a pretty clever move on Burns’ part to be going after Indongo. You can argue the idea is for Burns to beat the flawed Indongo, and then vacate his IBF title as quickly as possible to avoid having to fight Rances Barthelemy and get knocked out by him. If he wins the IBF title, then he can sidestep Barthelemy by vacating the WBA belt.
“Burns and his management likely see weakness in the 5’10 ½” southpaw Indongo, because otherwise they wouldn’t be so eager to make this fight. To be sure, Indongo has looked badly flawed in many of his fights since turning pro in 2009. Indongo has a good left hand, but that’s about it. He doesn’t have a powerful right, and he often misses with his left hand and gets countered frequently. Before Indongo beat Troyanovsky, he’d looked very average in fights against the likes of Kaizer Mabuza, Ibrahim Class, Zolani Morali and Allan Kamote.
“Indongo struggled with Mabuza and Class, and those are guys that would likely be totally dominated by the better fighters in the 140lb division. The fact that Indondo had problems with them is pretty telling. I can see why Burns is reportedly interested in facing Indongo, because it would be an easy way for him to win the IBF light welterweight title,” read the subjective analysis.
Burns record of (41-5-1, 14 KOs) surely puts him in the favourite’s book and with home roaring him on, things will be to his advantage. However, the world cannot downplay the ability of Indongo in surprising them just as he did in Moscow. The undefeated Namibian enters the ring with a record (21-0, 11 KOs).
The Indongo stable is hard at work getting the champion ready to deliver another stunning performance, just as any other fight.
“Every fight is very important. It is recorded and it contributes to your future. If you are a world champion, you should defend your tittle and that is the nature of boxing,” said trainer and promoter Nestor Tobias.
In an interview with The Patriot Sport, Tobias warned against those who might not believe in Indongo saying he is ready to make the country proud.
“He fought in Russia and people underestimated him. He gave us 40 seconds and those seconds mean a lot. It is not many people who can do it in 40 seconds. So the world awaits to see his next fight to confirm if what they saw in Russia was real or whether is was just one of those days. So there is pressure on our side. There is also excitement on our side and we are ready to show the world that the Blue Machine is real.”
The Scot once burned the hard-hitting Paulus Moses in 2012 so the Namibian camp will be out to exploit the flaws since they are familiar with him. Nestor admits that they have been closely studying their opponent and they will prepare with that in mind.
“At this level, there is no easy fight. We are working hard. We know he is good but we are hungry for the title and we are hungry for the success. At the moment we are just taking step by step to get him (Indongo) ready. We are not going to put ourselves under pressure. I know Ricky Burns will also be under pressure because he is fighting in front of his crowd and they want him to do well too.”
Tobias admitted that Burns is not an easy fighter but so is Indongo. He referred to the Russia fight, saying the world did not expect what happened but they now know and talk about Namibians.
“He was not a world champion but a mere challenger before the Russia win. That 40 seconds was so short and sweet and everybody was watching it.”
Comparing the Namibian to his opponent, both are of the same age but Indongo has the height and reach advantage. He fights from the left – so it is going to be difficult for Burns to penetrate him. Indongo is a natural welterweight while Burns was a junior lightweight.
Tobias shared that they are working hard on Indongo’s stamina and speed and ways to hurt their opponent while at the same time keeping it safe.
“The approach is going to be very technical and we are going to pick up round by round.
We are not going to go for a KO. I know we have a record of 40 seconds but that is not our plan. But if it comes then it comes. We are practicing every punch to be effective,” said the trainer.
Speaking to the author of the 40 seconds during his training, Indongo said he is working hard to make sure he delivers his best come the night. ‘Blue Machine’ said he is ready to show the world that Namibia has talent and Africans are just are good.
“I am not afraid of him (Burns). He has a lot of flaws and that is his weakness for me. I just want to teach world to start respecting Africans and that is what I am going to do,” said Indongo
Asked about the crowd that will not be in his favour, Indongo said – We were only four when we went to Russia and the crowd did not affect my performance. When I step into the ring, my business is only with my opponent and not the crowd.”