Julius Indongo fell victim to memes and mockery on social media this week, following his unceremonious defeat to American Terence Crawford in an undisputed super-lightweight unification fight on Sunday. The Namibian was out-classed and knocked out in the third-round, a display that has brought him under heavy scrutiny by public. Social media went abuzz, placing him on the receiving end of a trending ‘#OkaIndongo.
Still hopeful for a return to the world stage, Indongo queried why it is mostly Namibians that most look forward to seeing other Namibians fail.
“Instead of building and growing each other, we make a mockery of people when they fail. I really do not like it. Someone is trying to do well for the country and all you do is make fun of it when he fails. What have you done for the country?” said Indongo.
“I understand boxing and the criticism does not get to me. When I entered the arena that night, the crowd was booing me but it did not affect me at all. But it affects me when it is my own people. A younger person out there will stop doing what they are doing because they know what will happen if they do not do good,” he added.
Indongo acknowledges that it was a tough fight and he was caught off guard with the punch that nailed him to the floor. Without taking away credit from his opponent he is however proud to have introduced Namibia to the world.
What went wrong?
Critics point out that it was an easy punch and that the Namibian could have done better. Many also queried on the boxer’s punching style on the night saying it was a give-away. Questioned on this, Indongo said, it is all part of boxing as it is every man’s aim in the ring to win. “It is simple – he caught me with an uppercut. It blocked my breathing and with the fast count of the referee, I could not recover on time.”
He adds; “Everyone will have a say after they lose. I used all punches. In fact, Crawford only caught me with one straight punch. What people also need to understand is that punching is also determined on how your opponent comes to you. I was trying to give combinations of four but his counter was good. And that’s it.”
A determined Indongo emphasized that he is not ashamed of the loss and the fight will only grow him. For him, it is a mission accomplished, making it for Africa, and will surely be back.
“I’m not heartbroken. I have been in this system for 17 years and at times as an amateur, I lost most of my fights but I kept fighting. This one is surely not putting me down. I have the heart to be part of this game.”
Was Indongo ready?
Indongo was an underdog to the boxing fraternity and rose to fame in a short space of time. On record, he fought three world champions in a space of nine months. He floored Russian Edward Troyanovsky in one of the shortest knock-outs records in the world – 40 seconds. He went on to defeat Scot Ricky Burns in his backyard before taking on Crawford. His coach, who doubles up as promoter has been questioned whether Indongo was ready for the fight with some citing that it was too soon.
Nestor Tobias downplayed the view that Indongo was not ready saying all was in place and that he in fact was in best shape for the fight.
“People are asking why I took him to take on Crawford; there was nothing else for him in that weight division. If you want to prove that you are good, you have to fight the best. So we went for it.”
“Indongo went there prepared and ready for the fight as always. We prepared him well but unfortunately things did not go our way. We had a game plan for the fight technically, just like the other 22 fights. He was just caught by a heavy punch that is hard to recover from. There is no excuse on that.”
“I have been in boxing for almost all my life. I have a coaching qualification and I understand the fitness of the athlete physically and mentally. When someone gets knock out, people will always say he was not ready for the fight. Should we also say the same of the Russian he knocked? It is part of the game of boxing.”
As coach, Tobias said they have learned a lot from the fight and they will go back to the ring train and make sure Indongo returns to the light. Crawford is said to be stepping up the ladder to another weight class, meaning he will vacate the best, meaning Indongo will have another chance to stepping up.
In the absence of a re-match, Tobias said Indongo will be resting with family for now before returning to the gym. When he returns, he will get a local or international fight before they look forward for another world fight.