Tuesday, April 24, 2018  |


Julius Indongo proves he’s for real, beats Burns to unify 140-pound belts

Photo: Steve Welsh

GLASGOW, Scotland – It takes a special type of character to march into hostile territory and walk the walk. The news for fight fans is that “The Blue Machine” is for real.

An 8,000-strong crowd at the SSE Hydro booed IBF junior welterweight titleholder Julius Indongo incessantly, as he made his way to the ring, but he wasn’t listening. The unbeaten Namibian maintained his focus to score a wide 12-round unanimous decision over Ricky Burns to add the WBA 140-pound title to his collection.

The scores were 120-108, 118-110 and 116-112 for the new unified titleholder.

“The better man won,” said Burns during his post-fight interview. “He was so awkward and he can hit. The height and reach advantage (were troublesome) and he was always out of distance. I’ll sit down with (promoter) Eddie (Hearn) on Monday and see where we go from here.”

Indongo, who was rated No. 6 by THE RING at 140 pounds coming in, took ring center early and dictated behind big left hands out of the southpaw stance. Burns, instantly concerned about the power coming at him, did well to avoid serious damage but he was forced to watch during the early stages.

The Scotsman began to fight in the third, landing with a brace of sharp right hands, but he struggled to maintain any real consistency. Indongo’s right jab was effective, the follow-up left was damaging, and he diversified that shot extremely well between body and head. That type of variable offense kept the home fighter guessing.

Burns sensed urgency and had his best round in the sixth. He drove the Namibian backward and applied steady pressure with some quick combinations. A nice left-hand counter was coming over the top of Indongo’s right jab but the success disappeared as quickly as it came. The clock was ticking and Burns’ raucous home support tried their best to lift their man. It was all in vain.

There was a train of thought that Indongo (22-0, 11 knockouts) had landed the lottery punch when he iced Eduard Troyanovski in just 40 seconds last December. That night in Moscow, one big left hand was all it took and the rangy Namibian was a world titleholder. The downside of such a stunning victory is that there’s room for doubt. Was it a lucky punch? Was Troyanovski caught cold? Did Troyanovski underestimate Indongo?

After tonight, those questions are likely to cease.

Burns (41-6-1, 14 KOs) had won the vacant WBA junior welterweight title by stopping Michele Di Rocco in eight rounds last May. He went through hell in his first defense, against Kiryl Relikh, but managed to pull out a 12-round unanimous decision. Burns then immediately targeted Indongo and while that gamble may have backfired, expect to see the proud Scotsman back in the ring this year.

For Indongo, the sky is the limit.

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel.  Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

  • Teddy Reynoso

    Indongo could be the one to rival Crawford for junior welterweight supremacy. Once in a while Africa comes o”up with a special fighter but I think this is the first time that the continent produces somebody big at 140.

    • Julio

      That is very true. They might not produce in great quantity, but what they produce is usually quality.

  • RayK

    I kind of expected people to be saying Crawford will box this guys ears off.

    • Colin Mc Flurry.

      He would. Indongo is a handful but He is very raw ( at 34 he ain’t getting better ) Crawford ain’t no Burns..

      • RayK

        Our thoughts exactly!

  • william ellis

    Just a thought about Burns – he’s had a couple of gifts in recent years (Beltran, probably Relikh), but he’s had a terrific career: at super-featherweight he beat a lot very good fighters, and he was very good at lightweight for awhile. Age, ring wars, and his lack of power have taken their toll. He still has an incredible chin – not a good thing now. I hope he retires before fresher fighters do a lot of damage.

    Good luck to Indongo: his story is a good one. Out of nowhere, and now near the top.

  • Oc

    Indongo is one tough dude, his mobility and power are going to be hard to over come. I would be really keen to see him against Crawford…he could very easily cause the talented Terrence some real problems.

    • Adam Jenkins

      He definitely could cause Crawford some major problems. A slick, super ranged southpaw, with beautiful mobility. That’d be a great fight on paper

      • Oc

        On paper yes. Crawford has that magic about his work but on paper this fight looks good.

        • Adam Jenkins

          Agreed. I still would absolutely favor Crawford

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  • Adam Jenkins

    I like this dude. Hell of a technician. His defeat of burns was a straight up boxing lesson. Burns didn’t look great, but you can’t take the credit from Indongo for that domination