Julius Indongo isn’t impressed with what well-established former amateur standout Daniyar Yeleussinov brings to the table.
The former unified 140-pound titlist moves up in weight for a regional welterweight title fight with Kazakhstan’s Yeleussinov (9-0, 5KOs), a two-time Olympian and 2016 Olympic Gold medalist who has emerged as a notable prospect in the pro ranks. The two collide this Friday, live on DAZN from a crowdless Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, with the winner poised to make some noise in the loaded 147-pound division.
The oddsmakers have a good idea of how the fight will go, though Friday’s underdog clearly has a different viewpoint.
“Easy work,” Indongo described of the unbeaten southpaw during Wednesday’s final pre-fight press conference. “It’s all about how you inspire yourself and how you commit yourself.”
Indongo rose to prominence following a stunning 1st round knockout of unbeaten 140-pound titlist Eduard Troyanovsky in December 2016 on the road in Moscow. Four months later, the veteran boxer from Windhook, Namibia once again performed in hostile territory, traveling to Glasgow, Scotland where he outpointed local hero Ricky Burns in their April 2017 junior welterweight unification clash.
The Cinderella story crashed and burned later that October, when Terence Crawford (37-0, 28KO) knocked out Indongo in the third round of their August 2017 clash in Omaha, Nebraska to become undisputed 140-pound king. Efforts to make his way back into the title picture resulted in a shorter night at the office, as he was torched inside of two rounds by then-unbeaten Regis Prograis in March 2018.
Just one fight has come since then, a 2nd round knockout of Carltavious Jones last August where Indongo now lives and trains. Another change comes head of his next fight as he will continue to compete at welterweight. The changes made in his career, he believes, will lead to the first loss in Yeleussinov’s career.
“I feel fresh and brand new,” insists Indongo, a +500 underdog according to most reputable sportsbooks while Yeleussinov is a healthy -900 favorite. “My body no longer wants to go to 140. I feel like it was time to go to welterweight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox