Terence Crawford faces off tonight with fellow two-belt world titleholder Julius Indongo, of Namibia, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, a short drive from Crawford’s hometown of Omaha. Crawford-Indongo will be only the fourth fight in the four-belt era in which all four major titles will be on the line in the same fight; the winner will walk away as the undefeated, undisputed No. 1 fighter at 140 pounds.
“On any other day Lincoln is known for being the capital of Nebraska, but on August 19, it will be the capital of the boxing world,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Thanks to ESPN, all eyes will be on the Crawford-Indongo fight which will not only determine the king of the division but will serve as a coronation for boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter.”
“Julius Indongo is a champion with a lot of confidence right now, being that he went over to Russia and took the title from Eduard Troyanovsky and then went to Scotland and took Ricky Burns’ title,” said Crawford. “Now he’s coming to the U.S. to challenge me. He’s a bigger threat now than at any other time because he has all the confidence in the world.”
Crawford (31-0, 22 KOs), 29, was the 2014 consensus fighter of the year when he won the lightweight title from Ricky Burns in Scotland and then made two successful defenses in Omaha against Yuriorkis Gamboa and Ray Beltran. In 2015, he won a junior welterweight title and has made five junior welterweight title defenses, including unifying two belts by lopsided decision against Viktor Postol last July and stopping former Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz in the 10th round on May 20.
Now he will attempt to unify the four belts against Indongo (22-0, 11 KOs), 34. who will be making his second title defense while also trying to gain all four belts.
“Me and my team went to New York City — a trip of 20 hours from Namibia — to watch Terence Crawford against Felix Diaz (in May),” said Indongo. “I will tell you this — Crawford is a real champion. He had a big impressive win over Diaz. Crawford showed me real character in that fight. On August 19, Crawford’s skill and power will bring out the best of me. I am ready and prepared to face him.”
Indongo, who fought his first 20 fights in his home country, then traveled to Moscow and spectacularly knocked out hometown hero Eduard Troyanovsky in the first round in December to win one title. Then he traveled to Ricky Burns’ hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, and easily outpointed him to unify two belts on April 15. Now he is going to Crawford’s home area looking to add the other two belts to his collection.
“The fact that we were able to secure this for all four belts is truly history-making,” Top Rank vice president Moretti said. “Both sides deserve credit in their willingness to do this. I’d like to thank [Indongo co-promoters] Eddie Hearn [of Matchroom Boxing] and Nestor Tobias for truly wanting to make this fight.
Only three times previously have all four major belts — the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO — been at stake in the same fight: once in 2004, when Bernard Hopkins put his three belts up against Oscar De La Hoya’s one and knocked him out to unify the middleweight division, and twice in 2005, when Hopkins retained them by outpointing Howard Eastman and then lost them by decision in his first fight with Jermain Taylor.