NAMIBIA’S Julius Indongo shocked the boxing world when he flattened Eduard Troyanovsky in one round last December. The new IBF world super lightweight champion says the win was no fluke and promises it to prove it on April 15 when he meets Scotland’s Ricky Burns in a 140lb. unification bout. Read on to hear what else he had to say ahead of the biggest fight of his career.
A win over Ricky Burns could really put you on the map. Is there any added pressure for this fight?
There is the obvious natural expectation to see a good fight and we know the world is waiting to answer one question, whether I’m a good fighter or if my last win was a fluke. We are not going out there to prove anything to anybody, we are coming to fight and collect another belt.
Not only is Burns well-known but he will also be fighting comfortably from his home country in front of 10,000 cheering Scots which should give him every reason to win the fight. But I get very excited when the odds are against me, because that brings out the best in me. We are not going to Scotland to go and hurt Burns, we are simply going to get his belt, so he can either hand it to us voluntarily or in the ring.
Give us your thoughts on Burns as a fighter.
Burns has proved himself to be a world class fighter, a two-time world champion which says a lot about his boxing pedigree. My counterpart, Paulus “Hitman” Moses, fought him once for the WBO lightweight world title in a very close fight which we thought we won, but he got the decision. We are happy to get another opportunity to fight him and take what should have been ours years ago, his belt. We are not too worried about his strengths and weaknesses, but remain wary of them. Our advantage is our strength and determination and that’s all that matters right now.
That was an extraordinary win over Eduard Troyanovsky. The outcome was a shock to so many, but obviously not to you.
Thank you very much. Troyanovsky was a great champion, I have a lot of respect for him and I wish to thank him and his team for the opportunity and the hospitality we enjoyed while in Moscow. I wish him all the best and I hope he bounces back.
I can understand why the outcome was a shock to many because they have never seen me fighting, but I hope we have managed to make a statement with that victory. I am humbled to become Namibia’s fourth world champion after the legendary Harry Simon, Paulus “Hitman” Moses and Paulus “The Rock” Ambunda, all under the MTC Nestor Sunshine Promotions. I thank the good Lord for this victory, I thank my team and Promoter Nestor Tobias, who was recently named awarded the WBO Africa Promoter of the year for the fifth consecutive time. I want to thank our sponsor Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) for the great support and every boxing fan that continued believing in me.
Your record does not suggest that you have serious power but you have showed pop over your past three fights. Is there a reason that hasn’t been the case in prior fights?
Not every fight presents an opportunity for a knockout and one must be patient and take the chance when it comes. I came into my last fight as an underdog and I was happy doing so because that took the pressure of me to just go in and there and give it my best. Everybody says that was a lucky punch, and that I got extremely lucky against a great champion but I can guarantee you if the roles were reversed, they would have said it was a great knockout. But I am not bothered by the comments. Whoever wants the same knockout can simply step in the ring with me and I can do it all over again.
That was your first fight outside of Namibia. Did you feel any added pressure to perform and score a KO in front of a partisan crowd and possibly biased judges?
As an amateur, I fought in over 12 countries in Africa. Outside of Africa, I fought in China, the UK, Ireland, India, Cuba and Australia and many other countries so I know how it feels to prepare for a fight outside your home country, and the added level of confidence you need to boost yourself.
This was of course my first professional fight outside Namibia and it came at the right time. We had a long discussion on every possible factor that might derail our mental and physical preparedness, and made sure that we countered them to stay focused on the fight. Fighting in Russia is not easy, the crowd is hostile and we have seen how a hostile crowd can influence the judges. We therefore needed to make sure that we win and do so convincingly because boxing can be cruel sometimes. You think you have gone in there and done the job but you can be surprised when the scores come in.
How does it feel to become the fourth Namibian to win a world title?
I am honoured and humbled. My hard work has finally paid off. I started my professional boxing career in 2009, so it has been an eight-year long wait, working hard, staying disciplined and importantly staying undefeated.
As a boxer in Namibia, we have to work three times harder than a boxer in Europe or elsewhere because we are part-time boxers. We all have full time day jobs, and when we have big fights we have to take leave to prepare for fights. We are however very passionate about the sport of boxing and that is why we put in the extra work. We are certainly amongst the greatest boxing nations of the world seeing that we only have a population of approximately 2.3 million people, and have already produced four world champions.
Tell us how you got started into boxing – it appears you had a late start. Why was that and what inspired you to fight?
I started my boxing career in 1997, but did not fight until 2001 when I had my first amateur fight. I started following and loving the sport of boxing and was impressed by the way radio boxing commentators would go on reporting and make you feel that you are actually live at the fight. I was inspired by the amount of discipline and hard work that goes into preparing for a fight and decided to give it a try.
Who were some of the fighters you looked up to and emulated growing up?
I watch a lot of fights by lefties like Manny Pacquiao and Guillermo Rigondeaux, they are amongst my favourite fighters. But there are many great ones that came before them, the likes of our own Harry Simon who became our first Namibian world champion, Floyd Mayweather—an incredible fighter, the legendary Mike Tyson and Muhammed Ali, may his soul rest in eternal peace.
Ultimately, what are your goals in the sport of boxing?
I just want to live up to my own dreams, and fulfil that very purpose that attracted me to the sport in the very first place. I am not here to prove that I am the best, or that I am a worthy world champion. I am in the sport because I love boxing, I love every fight, I love training, I love winning, and hopefully my commitment inspires somebody out there to become their own great selves.
And finally, could you give fans a prediction of what will go down?
In a nutshell, this is how it will go down: “And the new WBA/IBF and IBO champion of the world is Julius “Blue Machine” Indongo!”