Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo will clash on August 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska in a huge five-title unification match-up. Crawford’s WBC and WBO belts will be on the line along with Indongo’s WBA World, IBF and IBO in an opportunity to say without question who is the undisputed king at super-lightweight.
Sky Sports have picked up the fight for UK coverage and the broadcasting powerhouse have a horse in the race with in-house promoter Eddie Hearn claiming promotional ties with the African. ESPN are televising in the States. HBO boxing had been picking up Crawford fights but Bob Arum changed tack and left the premium paid provider kicking its heels with a foot out of the door of high-class boxing.
“I’m going to Nebraska, USA, to wrestle those titles away from Crawford and it does not bother me that I’m going into his own backyard. I’m under no pressure at all,” Indongo told Sky Sports News.
“Fighting at this level is not only about me but it’s about my country and Africa at large,” he added.
Even though he is perceived to be a strong underdog, Indongo does bring some stylistic issues to the table. Being a tall, awkward southpaw certainly gave Ricky Burns more trouble than he could handle when the Namibian relieved the Scottish champion of his WBA strap in April of this year. Burns, however, is coming to the end of an excellent career, in which he has consistently overachieved. Slow, flat-footed and unable to pull the trigger, Burns was second best throughout as Indongo established a nice rhythm and used his size advantages perfectly to negate any of Burns’ offensive moves.
Prior to this, Indongo had definitively announced himself on the world scene with a shock one-round knockout of Eduard Troyanovsky in Russia. As Troyanovsky burrowed inside, Indongo unleashed a stunning backhand left counter to take home the IBF belt. Ricky Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn clearly saw this win as an anomaly and fancied that the early stoppage flattered the African, prompting him to tempt Indongo across for a simple belt-grab unification. The 34-year-old visitor had other plans, however, as outlined above.
As for Crawford, he has been steadily progressing towards pound-for-pound ranking Number One status with some impressive performance against solid opposition. In his most recent outing Crawford forced rugged Dominican Felix Diaz to retire in the 10th round. The Nebraskan has an ability to negate his opponents’ strengths, break them down and dissect them from both stances. This was in evidence in the Diaz bout. Crawford’s best win to date was his 12-round domination of WBO super-lightweight champion Viktor Postol. The spidery Ukrainian had been gathering some admirers after stopping Lucas Matthysse with a severely damaged eye and some suspected his awkward style would cause issues for ‘Bud’. This did not turn out to the case as Crawford dropped him twice in the fifth and Postol had a point deducted in the 11th for illegal work, causing three lopsided scorecards in Crawford’s favour.
Prior to that, Crawford had run through some of the lesser names at super-lightweight including Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme and Dierry Jean. His wins at lightweight are more impressive; after relieving Ricky Burns of his WBO crown Crawford defended successfully against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran.
Indongo’s height and reach statistics are an advantage but Crawford is a big guy himself and a consummate ring technician who will surely work out the stylistic puzzles at some point during the fight. I expect Crawford to win a unanimous decision, possibly eight rounds to four, with Indongo being competitive and active from start to finish.