Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo shoot for undisputed status Saturday night on ESPN
August 18, 2017
Anna Aguilar (119 articles)
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Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo shoot for undisputed status Saturday night on ESPN

Julius Indongo (22-0,11 KOs) is no stranger in coming into enemy lines to fight for what he wants. Last December, he fought out of his home country of Namibia for the first time in his entire professional boxing career when he went to Moscow to face Edward Troyanovsky for the IBF and IBO championship titles. Indongo became a unified champion after knocking Troyanovsky out in the first round. In April, Indongo faced Ricky Burns and added the WBA championship title to his record in a one sided unanimous decision that went the distance.

And now, Indongo lands in the U.S. to Nebraska, the state that hardly sees a boxing event, unless of course Terence Crawford is fighting in his home state. Lincoln, Nebraska will host the unification bout that will make either Indongo or Crawford the undisputed super lightweight champion live on ESPN on Saturday night.

Terence Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), a native of Omaha, became the unified WBC and WBO super lightweight champion when he collected Viktor Postol’s WBC belt in a breezy unanimous decision last summer. After defending both titles twice, Crawford is looking to make history on Saturday by becoming the undisputed super lightweight with five titles – ever. The IBO title is not on the line, but Crawford’s Ring belt that he gained after beating Postol, is.

The last champion to become the undisputed champion in the super lightweight division was Kostya Tszyu, after he defeated Zab Judah in November 2001 and added the IBF title to his WBA/WBC titles. No boxer in this division has held five belts. Jermain Taylor was the last undisputed fighter (middleweight) to hold four belts at a time after beating Bernard Hopkins in July 2005.

If Crawford were to come out victorious Saturday night, it’s more than likely that he will move up to 147 lbs, which means vacating all the belts in the super lightweight division. In yesterday’s press conference, he stated he would shoot for a title shot right away and unified champion, Keith Thurman is the target. “He’s the number one guy in the welterweight division. Why take two, or three, or four? When I go to welterweight, I want the number one guy in welterweight.”

Indongo has a height and reach advantage over Crawford, however, the level of experience gives Crawford the upper hand. Both southpaws, however, Crawford has the capability to switch hit comfortably from southpaw to orthodox, and vice versa. Though their styles are a bit similar, that will make this bout a interesting one to watch, Crawford’s jab could be the main key in beating Indongo’s lengthy shots. Indongo has the tendency to throw his punches widely. In his last bout with Burns, Indongo seemed to throw unnecessary shots that missed his opponent. He’d sure have to be care to pick and choose what he throws in his fight with Crawford. Crawford being an expert at switching, could be a key to throw the southpaw off. We’ve seen Crawford come in as a southpaw and not switch at all, as he did with Feliz Diaz. However, Diaz was a much shorter fighter with a lesser reach. Indongo could be the right opponent to make Crawford work hard to keep his perfect record and become the undisputed pound for pound champ.

Fight fans can watch the undefeated champions shoot to make history live on ESPN. Also on the card is Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Craig Baker for the NABF Light Heavyweight title as the televised co-main event. Streaming live on the ESPN app, former world champion, Mike Alvarado will return against Sidney Siqueira, and 2016 Silver medalist Olympian, Shakur Stevenson comes into his third pro fight against David Michel Paz. Mike Reed will take on Robert Frankel, Kevin Ceja Ventura will face Baltazar Ramirez, Steven Nelson will take on Cesar Ruiz, Dillian Whyte will face Malcom Tann, and Bryant Jennings will face Daniel Martz.

 

All photos by Mikey Williams for Top Rank Boxing.

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Anna Aguilar