The legato drones of the infamous bagpipes will sound WBA super lightweight champion Ricky Burns into battle once more as the SSE Hydro in Glasgow gears Scotland up for another big night of world championship boxing on the 15th April as he takes on IBO ad IBF champion Julius Indongo in a unification match up.
Julius Indongo known as the ‘Blue Machine’ stands at over 5ft 10 inches tall. He is a very tall and rangy boxer who also boxes from a southpaw stance. After representing Namibia at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing where he was eliminated in the round of 32, Indongo turned over to the pro ranks and began working his way up going largely under the radar whilst building himself in Namibia.
Indongo really announced himself on the world scene when he captured the IBF and IBO light-welterweight titles on December 3, 2016, with a first round knockout win over previous champion Eduard ‘The Eagle’ Troyanovsky, an unbeaten fighter who with 22 knockouts from his 25 wins had a reputation as knockout artist.
It was a challenge few would have wanted to face but Indongo stepped up and travelled to to the Russian capital, Moscow, to rip the IBF title from the Russian with a highlight reel knockout just 40 seconds into the very first round. Not bad for a man who had never fought outside of Namibia before.
He caught the Russian cold with a wide, winging left hand and looked to have surprised him with just how rangy he was. A lucky punch? Possibly a better fighter sees it coming unlike the Russian. It certainly made him look like he has a lot of power at his disposal and with his long arms you’d expect him to be able to generate good leverage on his punches.
However the there are a lot of question marks and unknowns still surrounding him. His record of 21 wins only contains 11 knockouts so maybe the knockout revealed more about Eduard Troyanovsky’s chin and susceptibility defensively than it does about Indongo’s offense.
Between 2010 and 2012 Ricky Burns looked to be at his peak as the WBO world Super featherweight champion. He enjoyed some great wins and successfully transitioned up to lightweight again becoming WBO champion.
However 2013 and 2014 saw Ricky knocked off his perch. He retained his belt against Raymundo Beltran fighting his way through to a draw after Beltran broke his jaw in the early rounds. Many in attendance had the fight scored in Beltran’s favour and Ricky was lucky to retain his strap.
His reign was to end soon after though he then took on Terence Crawford. The American comprehensively boxed his way to a points victory. For Ricky to be losing to Crawford was no shame though. Crawford has since proved he belongs in the very top echelons of the sport and few champions will find success in matching up to him.
However it was the losses that followed against Dejan Zlaticanin and Omar Figueroa Jr that really seemed to indicate that Ricky was perhaps now facing the twilight of his career. Both fighters are solid operators but not in the elite class required for retaining belts as a distinguished champion.
Was the hunger there to go to the well again? Could he go through a rebuilding phase this late after acheiving so much in the game already. The answer was yes. The fire was still burining.
He dropped down a level or two and worked his way back up to fight for the vacant WBA title where he took out Michele Di Rocco in 8 rounds. Since then he has defended the crown once against Ricky Hatton trained Kiryl Relikh. Although he controlled for long periods of the fight there were some real moments of concern when Relikh backed him to the ropes and piled on the pressure.
Ricky Burns has the experience and know how to get the win here but this is a very dangerous fight for him. He has accumulated a wealth of experience over his 47 fight pro career stretching back to his debut in 2001 which will stand him in good stead but it is not often that Burns is conceding natural height and reach to another boxer.
Burns has often called upon his ability to box from range against smaller aggressive men so it will be interesting to see if he can work out a way to effectively land on Indongo without shipping any counters. He is the straighter more crisp puncher and he has the better jab. It may well be a key weapon of choice for him along with the straight right down the pipe.