Struggling to hold back his tears in front of hundreds of jubilant Namibians who swamped Hosea Kutako International Airport to grant him a hero’s welcome yesterday, Namibia’s newly-crowned triple world champion Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo yesterday said the unwavering support of his countrymen was what gave him the strength to dethrone Ricky Burns from the WBA world championship plinth.
Indongo, who landed back home yesterday morning from Glasgow, Scotland where he successfully defeated Scotsman Burns on Saturday to become the WBA, IBF, IBO unified world champion, was welcomed by hordes of jubilant Namibians at the airport on the outskirts of Windhoek city.
Besides the many well-wishers jovially hoisting mini Namibian flags and vociferously singing various celebratory songs in appreciation of Indongo’s historic achievement, Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service Agnes Tjongarero, chairperson of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Joel Matheus, board chairperson of the Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) Ellison Hijarunguru and many other dignitaries were also on hand to welcome the champion back home.
On Saturday night at a packed Hydro arena in Glasgow, Scotland, Indongo delivered a never-seen-before performance to convincingly outbox and outfox a clearly struggling Burns in front of his home crowd.
In all honesty, Indongo was in a class of his own as he optimally used his height and reach to bamboozle Burns.
Displaying great footwork, Indongo – who was fighting professionally outside of his home country for only the second time after a shock 40-second knockout of Russia’s Eduard Troyanovsky in Moscow last December – outmatched the notably gun-shy Burns from the outset as the Scotsman struggled to find his rhythm throughout the fight.
The endlessly awkward southpaw Namibian, something of an unknown quantity heading into the fight, utilised his power and range to superb effect and deservedly claimed a unanimous decision after the three judges returned scorecards of 120-108, 118-110, 116-112 in favour of the Namibian, who moved to 22 fights unbeaten.
Clearly world class, Indongo is a secret no more, and is now likely to go on the road again – this time to the United States – where the American Terence Crawford, considered the No. 1, holds the other two world title belts (WBC and WBO).
Burns, subdued throughout, and unable to change the contest’s one-sided pattern, admitted after the contest: “The better man won. He was so, so awkward. We did not know a lot about him, he was so much better than we thought. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves in for. He was a lot, lot better than we thought he was going to be. He can hit as well. The plan was in the first few rounds to feel his power. I knew he could hit, but we just wanted to take the sting out of him. But the height and reach advantage … he was always out of distance or I was missing.”