No living large for Indongo
As double world champion Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo prepares for the biggest fight in Namibian boxing history - a super lightweight unification bout with Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland – the undefeated Namibian boxer continues to stay in a family house in Soweto, Katutura with two of his siblings, three children and cousins.
Speculation was rife that Indongo had amassed millions after winning two world titles in Russia late last year, which would have changed his life for the better, but in an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, the boxing champion said that was not the case.
“I stay in Soweto with my two siblings, cousins and my three children. I am not married yet, and this was my father’s house that he left for us when he died, and we have been developing it since then, little by little, and I have not been able to buy my own house yet,” Indongo said.
Contrary to popular belief, the 33-year-old boxer, who also holds the rank of warrant officer in the Namibian police, said world champions and international boxers “are not paid so much” and that there was no way for anyone to make easy money in the sport.
“The bout in Russia was not having much money to it, as it was a ‘take it or leave it’ situation, and since we wanted the world recognition, we took it up,” he said.
He also claimed that media reports suggesting that he will pocket N$100 million in his unification bout with Burns have been a total misrepresentation of the facts.
“That amount is the overall amount for hosting the event and booking the hotels for us and the officials’ payments, and is not the prize-money for the winner,” Indongo said.
The boxer expressed his disappointment with the ministry of sport, which he said has to date not recognised his achievement in Russia.
“Currently, I don’t feel like I have done enough to prove myself to the country; just imagine that since winning the two world titles, I have not even been recognised by the authorities or by the minister responsible for sport,” he said.
Namibia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board (NPBWCB) board member, Ronald Kurtz, said are planning to officially acknowledge Indongo’s success, but that they have been hampered by lack of finances.
He said they will definitely do something for Indongo, once their financial position improves during the course of the year.
Indongo’s promoter, Nesta Tobias, said, “It’s my single-handed effort to put him on the world map, as I have invested a lot of money and time in training and exposing Indongo to the international boxing fraternity, by booking him for big fights.
“That is what I have done for him and many other boxers, and I will continue to do the same for him, as well as for every other boxer under my stable.
Despite the lack of recognition, Indongo remains upbeat about his upcoming bout with Burns, who has a record of 41 fights, five losses and one draw.
With an impressive professional boxing record of 21 straight wins and 11 knockouts, Indongo said that he will be looking to add to his knockout record against Burns, and will not rely on the judges to award him a points’ win.
“I know there are those that can’t wait for this bout, but all I can say is that they should remain positive. We are undefeated and we will remain undefeated.
“I have set a world record for Namibia. I cannot say I am the best, but for now anyone who wants to beat my record should bring two titles at once, in 40 seconds,” said Indongo, who made his professional debut in 2009 and has fought a total 113 rounds to date.
Indongo said the sky is the limit for his boxing career, and he will step up to any challenge that is brought before him.
Born in Windhoek in 1983, Indongo moved to the North when he was only two years old, after his father had died. He grew up in Onamuthayi village in the Oshana region in his aunt, Anna Kandjala’s home.
Indongo spent the better part of his childhood moving from school to school, until he ended up at Iipumbu Senior Secondary School (SSC), where he finished his schooling and began his amateur boxing career.
“Iipumbu SSC is where I started my boxing career, as I always came first in the competitions there, and mostly it was knockouts in the early rounds of each bout. Since then I have never looked back, until now.
“In Grade 12, I represented Namibia in Botswana, Zambia and Algeria at different levels. In all competitions, I took gold and proceeded with my winning streak in amateur boxing until 2004, when I fell sick with TB, which saw me pulling out of boxing and only returning in 2006.
“In 2012, I won my first title fight, which was the WBO African Championship, by knockout in the first round, against a Kenyan opponent. I defended that title seven times, until last year when I fought another Kenyan opponent, and then I got a chance to fight for the IBF and IBO titles in Russia, which I won by knockout,” Indongo said.