This coming Saturday, August 19, a rare unification bout between the two best in the super lightweight division, Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo, will take place in Crawford’s back yard, the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. The pair hold all four belts within the division, Indongo with the IBF and WBA belts and Crawford with the WBC and WBO belts, and they are putting them all on the line, which is extremely rare within the sport of boxing, as the politics side of the game typically shatters the hopes of a true unification clash.
Indongo, who originates from Namibia, burst onto the super lightweight scene in 2016 when he dramatically knocked out Eduard Troyanovsky in his homeland of Russia… in the first round. This secured him the IBF and the platform to build his career and start competing in the blockbuster fights; his next fight was for another world title against Ricky Burns, in which he dominated over 12 rounds to claim the WBA strap. The 34-year-old southpaw possesses tremendous power, and is extremely awkward within that southpaw stance due to his long, rangy arms and superb boxing skills. A former Olympian, Indongo is no stranger to travelling around the world to trade leather, and following excellent victories in Russia and Scotland which took his record to 22 successive wins; Indongo will not be fazed at all by the prospect of fighting in Nebraska.
On the other hand, Terence Crawford who also goes by the alias of ‘Bud’ will be aiming to continue his impeccable streak of 31 wins with 22 knock-outs, a streak which has cemented his place in the prestigious top 5 pound for pound fighters in the world. The American is a terrific boxer, and boasts of incredible skill and boxing IQ; BoxRec states Crawford is an orthodox fighter, but very often you’ll see him fighting out of the southpaw stance, which indicates he is competent boxing from both stances. Constantly throwing the jab, adapting to his opponents style extremely quickly and avoiding the big punches with his movement and footwork, many believe Bud will just have too much in his armoury for Indongo.
Whilst many see Julius Indongo as the big puncher, Crawford’s destructive power often goes unnoticed due to his defensive mentality and constant movement; The WBC and WBO champion actually holds a higher knock-out percentage, with 71% compared to the IBF and WBA champion’s 50%. Yes, Indongo has the reach and height advantage, but Crawford has more experience, having dominated both the 135lbs and 140lbs divisions, and also has age on his side. The vast majority of fans and pundits are truly expecting the American to get the victory and unify the division, which is what he has constantly insisted he wants to do; if he does end up unifying the division, it may signal the right time to move up in weight once again to welterweight (147lbs).
The fight will be aired live on American PPV, but for those hard-core fans in the UK, you can catch the infrequent encounter on Sky Sports in the early hours of Sunday morning. Despite Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo being the main event which everyone within the sport of boxing is hugely looking forward to, there are also a couple of notable names on the undercard which will be worth the watch:
Heavyweight: Dillian Whyte (20-1) vs. Malcolm Tann (24-5)
Dillian Whyte, who is part of the Matchroom stable, will make his first venture over the pond to take on Malcolm Tann in a bid to build his worldwide profile and further his chances of getting a title fight against Deontay Wilder. Thanks to social media, we all know that Deontay Wilder rejected a huge offer of $3 million, but if Whyte can explode onto the scene in America it may push Wilder into accepting the fight. Now, Tann, who is 6 foot 6 will enable Whyte to get accustomed to boxing taller opponents, but shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Body Snatcher. Most people will criticize the choice of opponent, but Eddie Hearn, who is Whyte’s promoter, has already stated that it is just a ‘tick-over’ clash for Whyte before a big fight towards the end of the year.
Light Heavyweight: Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0) vs. Craig Baker (17-1)
The unbeaten Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who is a product of the world-renowned Ukrainian amateur program and claimed bronze out the 2012 London Olympics, will take on American Craig Baker. Despite having just 13 professional fights, Gvozdyk is ranked #2 by the WBC and #3 by the WBA; the encounter with Baker should be a straightforward victory, and considering the bout is televised, it appears that the fight has been orchestrated so that Gvozdyk can show off his talent and skills. Should the Ukrainian emerge victorious, it will open up avenues to either challenge for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC strap or Andre Ward’s WBA belt…providing Andre Ward doesn’t vacate his belt to move up in weight and assuming Adonis Stevenson is committed to eliminating his mandatory challengers.