… Indongo confident to beat Crawford
It’s on and the date is set. On 19 August, the Soweto-born and Namibia’s greatest Julius Indongo will step in the ring with American champion Terence Crawford in Lincoln Nebraska at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
It’s a full Unification and an Undisputed fight with five belts on the line, something the world has never seen before and the two boxers are due to rewrite history.
No record in the archives in the books of history has registered a fight with five belts on the line. In 1999, Roy Jones Jr unified the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, three. Lennox Lewis unified the WBC, IBF and WBA titles to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, three again. In 2006, Joe Calzaghe was the undisputed Super Middleweight champion with the WBA, WBC and WBO belts, still three.
If this is not yet convincing, it’s important to put on record that the junior welterweight has never had a champion with five belts. Come 19 August, one of the two boxers, Crawford or Indongo, will make history.
Indongo, 34, started his boxing journey in Northern Namibia Oshakati in the dusty halls of Iipumbu Senior Secondary School. Coming to Windhoek, and with petty experience, he turned professional in 2008. The southpaw has been a hidden weapon and stared the world when he knocked out Russian Eduard Troyanovsky Indongo in 40 seconds to win the IBF and IBO belts last year.
The ‘Blue Machine’, as he is known, then under scrutiny of what else he can deliver went on to face Scot Ricky Burns and again stunned the world as he burned Ricky to add the WBA Lightweight belt to his collection.
What’s next? Talks from all corners of the world have then steered up for a fight between American kingpin Crawford (29) who holds the WBC and WBO belts for a full unification bout.
Months after Indongo burned Ricky, the IBF ordered ‘Blue Machine’ to face top contender Sergey Lipinets in his next fight. But not even this spoke to the fight that the world wanted to see.
“After long and tough negotiations, we went for the best option for the champion, the best option for the country and the best option for world boxing. The world wants to see Indongo face Crawford and it is now a done deal,” said manager, trainer and promoter Nestor Tobias of the MTC Nestor ‘Sunshine’ team.
“There was never an African who fought for an undisputed championship. This was not by luck but by hard work, dedication and self-belief. Indongo is a hard worker, disciplined boxer and that is what brought him at this level.”
Indongo (22-0, 11 knockouts) faces undefeated orthodox Crawford (31-0 (22 knockouts). Both are tall and rangy fighters with long reach but Indongo holds a slight edge in both categories. Crawford holds the greater knockout win percentage, 71% to 50%.
Indongo will enter the USA for the first time to fight and he says he does not feel any pressure. The southpaw beat both Burns and Troyanovsky in their backward, so given the stakes this time around, it will be nothing new to him.
Namibia and Africa at large will rally behind the ‘Blue Machine’ as he makes a name for himself in the history books in a fight that will recognise one undisputed champion, with five belts.
“This is history in the making and I do not feel any pressure. I have our strategy and boxing plan that we have always relied on for the past years so getting into the US will not be a problem for me. When I joined this game, I knew it is a win or lose game and if you get into the ring with a negative plan, you will not enjoy your game plan. We will rely on our plan and we know what we are going to do. Our fans must be confident in us and expect good results,” said Indongo.
He adds; “This one is for Namibia and Africa at large. As young people, it is our right to write our own history and this is just the beginning. I am confident for a win so expect good results on the 19th August.”
Unifications in their nature are rare as champions normally opt to look the other way. This time around, champions in five boxing stables will face each other in what will be the fight the world want to see.
With Crawford’s versatility in the ring, Tobias said Indongo’s strength here will be his heart and fitness, something no one can take away from the ‘Blue Machine.’ “We will be working on technique and making sure that we are able to adapt to any style he [Crawford] brings out. We have our own Namibian style and we will also be working on perfecting it.”
Platinum sponsors MTC’s Tim Ekandjo called on corporates for branding opportunities on Indongo’s boxing trunk. He said the home organisers will also do their best to arrange transport for those willing to fly with the Namibian champion.