‘Scrawny’ Indongo looks back with pride
Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo, who is set for what promises to be a mega super lightweight unification bout with World Boxing Association (WBA) title holder, Ricky Burns, in Scotland on 17 April, says his fellow learners at Iipumbu Shilongo Secondary School used to mock him for being too scrawny, when he first started boxing in 1997.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer this week, Indongo, who won the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super lightweight titles, after a 40-second demolition job of Eduard Troyanovsky in Russia in December, said he used to be mocked, because of his tiny body.
The undefeated double world champion’s boxing career started in high school in Oshakati in 1997, before he joined the MTC Nestor ‘Sunshine’ Tobias Fitness Boxing Academy in 2003.
“It was in 1997, when a teacher asked the class if there was anybody that was interested in taking up boxing, and funnily enough, I was the only person that put up their hand, even though I only weighed 28kg at the time,” Indongo said.
“Learners started laughing at me, as I was very young and skinny. Even today, people keep on teasing me on social media, saying that I will be hurt inside the ring very soon.”
Indongo, who is on the verge of making boxing history, when he faces Burns next month, is the fifth Namibian boxer to win a world title.
However, no Namibian boxer has ever unified the world titles in their division.
Namibia’s other boxing world title holders, over the years, are Harry ‘Terminator’ Simon, Paulus ‘The Rock’ Ambunda, Bethuel ‘Tyson’ Uushona and Paulus ‘Hitman’ Moses
Simon became the first Namibian boxer to win a world title, when he lifted the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Lightweight Middleweight belt in 1998, while Moses won the WBA Lightweight crown in 2009.
Ambunda became a two-time world champion, in two different divisions, after winning the WBO Bantamweight title in 2013 and the IBO Super Bantamweight crown in 2015.
Uushona is the current World Boxing Federation (WBF) Welterweight champion.
Indongo said that his unification bout against Burns will be the biggest fight of his life, before sending a stern warning to the Scotsman that he is “ready to rule the world”.
The Namibian has a record of 21 fights, with 21 wins and 11 knockouts, while Burns is the more experienced fighter, with a record of 47 fights, 41 wins, five loses and one draw.
Indongo said he will not be intimidated by the home crowd, when he clashes with Burns.
“Most of these European and American boxers underestimate African boxers. I am not under pressure at all. All I want to tell Burns is that if he makes a mistake, then he will disappoint himself and his fans.
“I do not get scared of another man like me. I fight what is in front of me. I have fought already in bigger arenas, during my amateur years, at the All-Africa and Olympic Games,” said a confident Indongo.
He has, however, expressed his disappointment that he is yet to receive official congratulations from the Government, for winning the IBO and IBF titles.
“I made history by putting Namibia on the map within 40 seconds, but yet I have not received any congratulations from Government. Even if I add the WBA crown, I will just feel the same way.
“Nobody from Government came to welcome me at the airport, when I came home with the two world titles,” fumed Indongo, who is a member of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol).
Indongo’s personal physiotherapist, Nelly Kapewasha, who has been with the boxer through thick and thin, is still over the moon, as she did not expect him to become the best in the world.
“I thought his journey will only end in Africa. I was so surprised when people showed me the newspaper articles about Indongo winning the titles, and when they asked me who he is, I told them that he is my patient. I make sure that he is injury-free, and I am looking after him very well,” Kapewasha added.