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Crawford vs Indongo: A look at Africa's greatest boxers ahead of Julius Indongo's unfication fight

Africa's finest (l to r) Azumah Nelson, Harry Simon, Brian Mitchell, Ike Quartey and John Mugabi.

Ahead of Julius Indongo looking to become the undisputed king at super-lightweight against Terence Crawford, we look back at some of the other great African boxers to reach the summit of the sport.

The undefeated Namibian will put his IBF and WBA titles on the line against WBC and WBO titlist Crawford at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, Nebraska on August 20, live on Sky Sports.

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Africa is known as the land of strength and valour and Indongo follows a great line of champions to hail from the continent. Read on and why not give us your views with our new debate section?

Azumah Nelson

28 Jun 1991:  Azumah Nelson celebrates after a bout against Jeff Fenech. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine  /Allsport
Image: Azuma Nelson was a world champion at two weights, featherweight and super-featherweight

Born in Accra, Ghana, Nelson, a national hero in his homeland, is widely considered as the greatest African boxer of all time having reigned as the WBC world champion at featherweight and super-featherweight twice.

A glittering amateur career saw 'The Professor' win every title except an Olympic medal, denied the chance after Ghana boycotted the 1980 Games where he was a strong favourite to win. After easing into the professional ranks, in his 13th bout he would get a last-minute call-up to challenge for a world title in a fight that would change his life forever.

Image: The trilogy with Jesse James Leija saw Nelson win, draw and lose.

He was very much considered an unknown quantity and a huge underdog when asked to take on Mexican great Salvador Sanchez at Madison Square Garden in 1982. However, Nelson would go 15 rounds with the WBC featherweight champion before being stopped late on, but his stock had rose, people now remembered and applauded the name.

Two years later, Nelson would get another shot at the belt, but again he would be up against it as he travelled to Puerto Rico to take on national star Wilfredo Gomez - the Ghanaian would win by late stoppage. He would defend the belt on six occasions, before jumping up in weight to win and then defend the WBC super-featherweight title on 13 occasions, often on American soil, in a remarkable 47-fight career.

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Dick Tiger

14th May 1957:  Nigerian middleweight Champion Dick Tiger.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Image: Dick Tiger is the only fighter in history to have been an undisputed champion at both middleweight and light-heavyweight

Hailing from Nigeria, Dick Tiger became a two-time undisputed world middleweight champion and helped keep boxing alive during the 1950's boxing industry recession.

Having exhausted local opposition, the Nigerian emigrated to Liverpool in 1955, but after struggling to come to terms with the British way of life, he again sought refuge and opted to head to New York.

His career really took off in 1963 when, having previously won and drawn with Gene Fullmer in world title bouts, Tiger would produce a stellar trilogy defining performance to become the undisputed king at 160lbs. He would floor and mesmerically dazzle Fullmer to keep hold of his WBA title and add the gold of the WBC to his waist.

Dick Tiger in action in 1958, fighting in Kensington, London
Image: Dick Tiger in action in 1958, fighting in Kensington, London

Despite losing the belts in his next outing to Joey Giardello, Tiger would confirm his champion status by reclaiming the titles in a rematch at Madison Square Garden two years later. From there, the Nigerian would move up in weight and unify the light-heavyweight division.

A deadly and deplorable illness would sadly take its toll on Tiger and cut short a tremendous boxing career. After contracting cancer, Tiger travelled back to his homeland and was ultimately laid to rest in December, 1971, aged just 42.

John Mugabi

John ''The Beast'' Mugabi in action during a bout. \ Mandatory Credit: Dan  Smith/Allsport
Image: 'The Beast' was part of boxing's golden area in the 1980s

One of Uganda's greatest sporting exports, John 'The Beast' Mugabi held the WBC super-welterweight title and challenged twice for world titles at middleweight, including the undisputed championship.

As an amateur, Mugabi won a silver medal in the welterweight division at the 1980 Summer Olympics, the only medallist for Uganda at the Games.

In the pro ranks, ferocious knockout artist Mugabi was part of an exceptionally talented group of fighters during a "golden era" of the 1980s which included Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benítez and Roberto Duran among others.

John Mugabi fought in the UK  seven times
Image: John Mugabi fought in the United Kingdomn seven times

It would be Hagler who would inflict the first loss on Mugabi's career when, in 1986, the Ugandan challenged him for the undisputed title at 160lbs. The pair produced a gruelling encounter and after a long, tough fight, Hagler won via knockout in the eleventh round at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.

The Ugandan's crowning moment would finally come three years later when he defeated Rene Jacquot, who had previously shocked Donald Curry, to claim the WBC super-welterweight title with a first round stoppage.

Ike Quartey

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 03:  Ike Quartey celebrates his TKO victory over Carlos Bojorquez after the junior middleweight bout at the Mandalay Bay Casino and Re
Image: 'Bazooka' blew most welterweights out of his way in the 1990s

Quartey, from Accra, Ghana, was another powerful knockout artist, demonstrated by none of his first 23 fights going the scheduled distance and 'Bazooka' was guided and inspired by Azumah Nelson, his father-in-law.

In Quartey's 26th fight, in 1994, he was given a shot at the WBA welterweight title, held by the then undefeated Crisanto España of Venezuela. Quartey knocked out España in the 11th round and would go on to make seven successful defences of the belt, defeating Alberto Cortes, Vince Phillips, and Oba Carr among others.

Ike Quartey floors Oscar De La Hoya during their 1999 contest
Image: Ike Quartey floors Oscar De La Hoya during their 1999 fight

In October 1997 he fought José Luis López to a draw and following that, the Ghanaian was then stripped of his title after a lengthy period of inactivity.

Quartey returned from the absence to challenge Lineal and WBC welterweight champion Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas. Both fighters tasted the canvas in the bout and it was De La Hoya who came away with a close, albeit controversial, split decision.

After another hiatus, Quartey would return to challenge Fernando Vargas for the IBF light-middleweight championship but lost out to a unanimous decision.

Brian Mitchell

1993:  Brian Mitchell celebrates during a bout against Tony Lopez. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
Image: Brian Mitchell ended his stunning career with just one loss in 49 fights

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mitchell, perhaps his nation's greatest boxer, captured the IBF, WBA and lineal super-featherweight titles during a stellar 49-fight career that saw him lose on just one occasion - a defeat he later avenged.

Mitchell was rated as one of the world's best super-featherweights from 1986 up to his initial retirement in 1991 and the 12 successful defences of his WBA title - including a victory over Londoner Jim McDonnell - remain the record in that division to this day.

Brian Mitchell and Tony Lopez in action during their 1993 contest
Image: Tony Lopez (L) was one of Brian Mitchell's last opponents

Due to South Africa's apartheid policy during those times, the sport's major governing bodies ruled that Mitchell's title defences were not to be held in South Africa, so with little choice on the matter, Mitchell became a true 'road warrior', forced to defend his title on foreign soil.

In 1991 he captured the IBF super-featherweight title with a decision win over Tony Lopez (who he'd previously fought to a draw) and he retired after the fight. Despite returning to the ring for two local bouts three years later, he hung up the gloves for good in 1995.

Harry Simon

1 May 1999:  A portrait of Harry Simon celebrating after the Light Middleweight fight against Kevin Lueshing held at Crystal Palace in London, England. \ M
Image: 'The Terminator' ended his career at 30-0, with 22 knockouts to his name

Like Indongo, Harry Simon hails from Namibia and the two-weight world champion has 30 wins on his record from just as many fights, but Simon has also had his share of problems outside the ring.

Simon won the WBO Light Middleweight title in 1998 by defeating Winky Wright via controversial decision and went on to successfully defend the belt on four occasions, including knockout victories over Kevin Lueshing and Wayne Alexander on British shores in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

1 May 1999:  Harry Simon lands the knock-down punch and celebrates during the Light Middleweight fight against Kevin Lueshing held at Crystal Palace.
Image: Harry Simon made his first world title defence in Crystal Palace against Kevin Lueshing

He then captured the WBO Middleweight title against Sweden's Armand Krajnc via a 12-round unanimous decision, but injuries sustained in a car crash later that year prevented him from defending the title and he was consequently stripped.

Years of inactivity followed before in 2007, Simon won on his return to boxing and he has since notched up a further six victories.

Who do think is the best of the lot and anyone who is missing from our list? Scroll down, sign in and start the debate...

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Watch Crawford vs Indongo from Lincoln, Nebraska, live from 2am, Sunday, August 20, on Sky Sports Arena.

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