Burns vs Indongo: Getting to know Namibian world champion Julius Indongo
By Neel Khagram
Last Updated: 11/04/17 3:09pm
Julius Indongo is the undefeated IBF super-lightweight world champion who will travel to Glasgow to take on WBA titleholder Ricky Burns in a unification bout live on Sky Sports. Here are a few stats and facts about Namibia’s latest sporting star...
Who is Julius Indongo?
Unbeaten in 21 contests, the 34-year-old resident from Windhoek, Namibia won the IBF title in his last outing by stopping Eduard Troyanovsky in the opening round. This was also his first fight away from home.
Windhoek, Namibia... where is that?
Well, it is the capital and is pretty much smack in the middle of a country between South Africa and Botswana on the south-west coast of Africa. It has a population of over 300,000 people. It is 1,700m above sea level and the largest city of the Republic of Namibia, that took independence in 1990.
Boxers such as Paulus Moses, Paulus Ambunda and Abmerk Shindjuu are all from the city, however rugby is perhaps the most popular sport in the country as a whole with Namibia making five rugby union World Cups.
Any other world champions to come out of Namibia?
Harry Simon and Paulus Moses are the country's other world champions. Simon is perhaps the most decorated fighter to come from there, having won world titles at super-welterweight and middleweight in an undefeated career spanning 30 bouts.
Among his successes include knockout victories against Kevin Lueshing and Wayne Alexander on British shores in 1999 and 2001 respectively.
Moses reigned as a WBA lightweight king before relinquishing his crown in his second defence. He challenged Ricky Burns for the Scot's WBO lightweight title in 2012 but lost via a unanimous decision.
Does that make Simon the county's biggest sports star?
Whilst boxing is slowly on the rise, Frankie Fredericks has rocketed to the very top and has to be Namibia's most famous sportsman.
The spring star was also born in Windhoek and flew the flag all round the world. He won silver in the 100m and 200m at the Barcelona 1992 and the Athens 1996 Olympics. Those four silvers still remain the nation's only medals but they have only been in the games since that opening Fredericks feast in 1992.
Has Indongo boxed in the Olympics?
Yes. He held a distinguished amateur career having represented his country at the 2008 games in Beijing. Fighting at the lightweight limit, he reached the round of 32 before suffering defeat to Russia's eventual gold medallist Aleksei Tishchenko.
He was knocked out early then, so will we see anyone doing that on Saturday?
Having knocked out 11 of his 21 victims as a professional, Indongo comes into the contest on the back of three straight stoppage victories including the 40-second finish that saw him take the IBF title from Eduard Troyanovsky.
But don't forget Burns has shown a granite chin and never been stopped in his 47 fight career. Could the Namibian be the first man to knockout Burns and unify the IBF and WBA belts?
Why does the IBF at 140lbs stick in the mind?
Well, as expected, it has been won by numerous Hall of Famers including Julio Cesar Chavez Snr, Pernell Whitaker and Kostya Tszyu, who of course stayed in his corner for the final round to give Ricky Hatton one of the most entertaining and emotional world light-welterweight title wins.
And Amir Khan knocked out Zab Judah in 2011 to add the IBF to his WBA title. Either Indongo or Burns will walk away with the same straps.
It's no longer called the light-welterweight though...
True. The American way has seen some of the more traditional weights given an update but regardless of the game, it is always a busy division with big names in. Burns' former foe Terrance Crawford currently holds the WBO and WBC straps.
'Bud' is due to face Felix Diaz in May with the winner in line to face Burns or Indongo for all the belts, which would bring undisputed and unification honours that we rarely see. That said, Crawford has already hinted at moving up again, trying to match Burns' three-weight world champion successes.
Crawford would be the favourite to do that, but what about Saturday's odds?
Well, on home soil and with experience on his side, Burns is the Sky Bet favourite. They've got him 1/2, with Indongo at 13/8 and the draw at 33/1. Burns to win over the distance is 4/5 and following his stunning title-winning KO of Troyanovsky, he's a mere 25/1 to win in the opening round.
Sky Live preview
A busy night in Glasgow, including Scott Cardle, Charlie Edwards and Lawrence Okolie.
Right, time for one more interesting fact...
Indongo will be the first southpaw Burns has faced since the Scot's loss to Dejan Zlaticanin in 2014. He has won all six since.
Watch Ricky Burns vs Julius Indongo from the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm.