Crawford, Indongo duel for super lightweight supremacy

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LOS ANGELES: Namibia’s Julius Indongo has no qualms about taking his quest for super lightweight supremacy into hostile territory — against American Terrence Crawford in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

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After all, he seized Ricky Burns’s World Boxing Association title with a convincing unanimous decision in Glasgow in April, adding it to the International Boxing Federation belt he grabbed with a first-round knockout of Eduard Troyanovsky on December 3 in Moscow.

Indongo, 22-0 with 11 knockouts, knows he’s still unfamiliar to most in America — something he can change quickly with a victory over 31-0 Crawford — who puts his own World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titles on the line.

“I believe this is the time for me to show the world that a boxer from Africa, from Namibia, can beat a guy fighting in his home in front of his people,” Indongo said. “This is the best way to do it.

“I am confident in my styles and techniques that I have learned from years ago … I am not sure if there is going to be a knockout — but I know I can do that if I have to.”

But Indongo is a decided underdog against Crawford, whose hand speed and power are enhanced by an ability to switch smoothly from southpaw to orthodox.

The 29-year-old American is coming off back-to-back victories inside the distance, over John Molina Jr. and Felix Diaz, and has won five of his last six bouts inside the distance.

“If he defeats me, everyone expects it,” Indongo said. “But the guy in Moscow was dangerous, too.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity. Terence is a very clean fighter. The ring will tell. I know he can switch (stance). I (hit) to the body. I look with my eyes and see. I know how to deal with things. I will handle it.”

Crawford admitted it wasn’t Indongo he expected to be facing with all four major world titles on the line.

“We never heard of Indongo and we never saw him fight other than the fight he had in Russia,” Crawford said.

“We wanted the Troyanovsky fight but he decided to go with Indongo so when we heard that he got knocked out, we looked at the replay and looked at the fight – that’s when we first took notice of who Indongo really was.”

Even then, Crawford’s camp was eyeing a Burns fight — before Indongo beat him, too.

“That’s when we took notice and said well, he’s the guy with the other two titles, so let’s see if we can make a fight with him and unify.”

While Crawford recognizes that Indongo is “a good boxer” with a dangerous punch, he was looking toward the bout with confidence.

“I think I have been doing a lot in the sport of boxing and I have had my name mentioned in the top three,” he said. “I will be looking forward to being the top one, or maybe two, after this fight.”

AFP

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