By Ian S Palmer
The IBF, IBO, and WBA World Super Lightweight Titles will all be on the line at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland this Saturday, April 15th when hometown hero Ricky Burns takes on undefeated Julius Indongo of Namibia. Burns is the WBA Champion while Indongo holds the IBF and IBO versions. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. on AWE while fans in the UK can catch the action on Sky Sports 2. Indongo won the IBF and IBO belts with a first-round knockout of Eduard Troyanovsky in December. Burns last fought in October and beat Kiryl Relikh by a unanimous decision.
Burns became the first ever three-weight champion from Scotland last May when he stopped Michele Di Rocco in the eighth round last May. He’s also a former junior lightweight and lightweight champ. The 33-year-old will climb into the ring with a record of 41-5-1 along with 14 Kos. Burns’ five losses have been to Alex Arthur by 12-round unanimous decision in 2006, Carl Johanneson by 12-round unanimous decision in 2007, Terence Crawford by unanimous decision in 2014, Dejan Zlaticanin by 12-round split decision in 2014, and to Omar Figueroa Jr. in May of 2015 by another 12-round unanimous decision.
He also fought to a controversial 12-round split decision draw with Raymundo Beltran in 2013 in a fight many experts had Beltran winning. Burns only victories in the past couple of years have been against the likes of Relikh, Di Rocco, Josh King, Prince Ofotsu and Alexandre Lepelley. This is now the Scotsman’s second reign as a junior welterweight belt holder, but he’s been taking on limited opposition and will be doing the same against Indongo.
Burns stands 5-feet-10 inches tall with a reach of 70 inches. He’s not much of a power puncher as his current knockout ratio is just 30 per cent. He turned pro in 2001 and has 361 rounds of pro experience. He’s undoubtedly a durable veteran though who’s beaten the likes of former and current champions such as Roman Martinez, Kevin Mitchell, Paulus Moses and Michael Katsidis. However, he’s not really in the Grade A or elite level as we found out when he faced Crawford and Figueroa. He’ always in good shape and is a smart boxer though with a relatively strong chin.
The 34-year-old Indongo is a southpaw with a perfect record of 21-0 with 11 Kos. He’s just over 5-foot-10 with a 71.5-inch reach, so has a half-inch advantage over Burns in both of those departments. Indongo turned pro in 2009 and has boxed 113 rounds since then. However, the African champion’s fought lower level opponents. The only name casual fans may recognize on his resume is Kaizer Mabuza. He won the title with a tremendous left handed 40-second KO over Eduard Troyanovsky a few months ago, but Troyanovsky also has limited skills.
Indongo isn’t really a knockout artist either with a current percentage of 52 per cent, but there’s a good chance that he may hit harder than Burns, who has decent chin, but has been down before. Burns will need to use his boxing skills to keep Indongo on the back foot as much as possible and make his opponent worry about covering up rather than launching a prolonged attack. Burns has more experience and while need being a Grade A boxer he’s a handful for anybody as long as his chin holds up. If Indongo is going to win this bout it will likely be by knockout. But considering Burns has never been stopped, I’ll take him to win a decision, but he might be rocked a couple of times along the way.