Julius Indongo: On the verge of boxing history

By Andreas Thomas

WINDHOEK – Namibia’s Julius “Blue Machine” Indongo (34) wrote himself into the boxing history books when he became a three-division champion of the world.

This came after he won two titles, during December and April this year. This was a rare feat not only by an African boxer, but other fighters in boxing powerhouses like the United States or Mexico.

And once again, in August, Indongo (22-0, 11KOs) will write himself to the top of boxing when he battles American Terrence Crawford (29) in an undisputed fight that will unite four major world titles, from credible boxing governing bodies, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Nebraska.

Indongo will put on the line his IBF and WBA super lightweight belts, while Crawford (31-0, 22KOs) will risk his WBC and WBO belts in a rare super lightweight unification bout that will be beamed live across the globe on ESPN and Sky Sport on August 19.

The magnitude of Indongo- Crawford clash was described by ESPN writer Dan Rafael, who said the fight will be the fourth bout in a four-belt era in which “all four major titles will be on the line in the same fight – the winner will walk away as the undefeated, undisputed No. 1 fighter at 140 pounds ((63kg)”.

Boxing trainer and promoter Nestor Tobias confirmed to the media on Monday in Windhoek that his charge is raring to battle the undefeated American fighter.

Tobias, who has a knack for producing world champions, noted that the deal was struck after tough negations with Crawford’s camp that consist of world renowned boxing promoters, Bob Arum of Top Rank.

“At the end of the day we went for the best option not only for Julius Indongo but for boxing at large. It is a fight that the world wants to see. It is a history in the making – never before an African fought for an undisputed world title,” said Tobias who described the upcoming bout as the biggest in Africa’s sporting history and the world.

Until last December, when he travelled to Moscow, Indongo, a police officer, was an enigma to international boxing.

Though, the world of sport took notice, after he spectacularly knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky in 40 seconds of the first round to capture the IBO and IBF super lightweight tittles.

That was Indongo’s first fight outside Namibia and the second time he fought outside Namibia was in April, when he added the WBA super lightweight title to his collection after he outclassed Ricky Burns of Scotland on points.

In two months’ time he will again take off for the biggest fight of his boxing career.

“We are excited to go to the USA to defend and challenge the other champion (Crawford). He (Indongo) is a special ambassador for Namibia, what he did in Russia; he managed to put Namibia on the map.

“He did the same in Scotland and we are going to the USA to put Namibia on the map. The bout is a history in making – it is going to be the biggest sporting event not only in Namibia but in Africa and the whole world,” Tobias said.

Tobias of the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing and Fitness Academy has teamed up with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing to work on Indongo in the preparation for his next fight. Hearn was in the corner Ricky Burns during the fight in Glasgow.

On his part, Indongo said he is calm and undaunted at fighting Crawford in his own backyard. Crawford is said to be from Omaha, an hour drive from the 15 000 capacity’s Pinnacle Bank Arena in Nebraska.

The Namibian fighter said is hard at work in the camp and has confidence in his trainers and that he will be relying on a game plan that they are working out.

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