By Steven Bateson
Julius Indongo spoiled the party on Saturday night as he recorded a comprehensive points victory over Ricky Burns in Burns’ hometown. Indongo retained his IBF & IBO Super Lightweight straps as well as adding the Burns’ WBA bauble to his collection.
From the outset it was clear that Indongo’s long arms and swarming style were giving Burns issues, rendering him unable to close the distance and get his own shots off. Indongo was always on the front foot and even when he wasn’t landing punches he was the one pushing the pace of the fight.
Burns was roared on by the raucous Glaswegian crowd but he was finding it increasingly difficult to mount any meaningful offense, by the halfway stage he had already found himself with a mountain to climb. Indongo was starting to reach to Burns’ body in an attempt to slow the movement of the Coatbridge fighter and although Burns had moments of success with his left hook and raiding tactics, it wasn’t near enough to sway the judges that he was picking up points.
Burns, as we have seen time and again, tried to make a fight of it through round seven and eight but he was still being caught too often and his legs gave an involuntary wobble after an exchange towards the end of the eighth stanza, a body shot causing him to take a deep intake of breath.
You’d be forgiven to think the fight was closer inside the arena given the boom every time Burns threw a punch but the fact is he wasn’t nearly doing enough. Indongo’s jab was keeping him at bay and the Namibian fighter was carrying plenty of power to make Burns think twice.
Even when Indongo seemed to tire in rounds ten and eleven there wasn’t enough in Burns’ tank to take the fight to his opponent. Through the years we have seen Burns pull out some heroic comebacks but this was not to be his night. Indongo finished round twelve on the front foot once more and although he couldn’t force a stoppage it was plainly evident who the victor was.
The scorecards read; 120-108, 118-110, 116-112 all in favour of Indongo, who remains undefeated at 22-0.
For Burns it is now a case of where to next? Can he successfully boil back down to Lightweight or do his team give him a chance of another comeback in the 140lb division? He looked devoid of ideas last night against a tall, rangy and awkward opponent. One has to wonder if the clock is ticking on the career of the three weight world champion.
For Indongo, well the sky is the limit, and one would bet on a giant unification fight with the winner of Terence Crawford/Felix Diaz on May 20th for Crawford’s WBO & WBC straps. Indongo and the winner of that fight would vie for the Undisputed 140lb crown and those are the kind of fights this sport needs.
Charlie Edwards won the British Super Flyweight Championship with near shutout points win over Iain Butcher. Score totals: 120-108 x2, 120-109
Edwards was in complete control of the fight from the outset, using his rapid fire jab to keep Butcher at bay, and the difference in class told throughout the contest. Butcher was game and certainly made a fight of it, enjoying periods of success when Edwards agreed to exchange in the centre of the ring, but without being disrespectful he was no match for the Epsom fighter.
Edwards lost a world title challenge last year to Jon Riel Casimero, he wasn’t ready for that kind of step up, but he is a force to be reckoned with at domestic and potentially European level. He has the amateur pedigree to go very far in the game but for now he and trainer, Adam Booth, will be content to dominate the 115lb division at British.
Robbie Barrett climbed off the canvass twice to pull off a shock as he took the British Lightweight Championship from Scott Cardle on a majority decision.
Cardle was bidding to win the Lonsdale belt outright on his fourth defense (two wins/one draw beforehand) but instead it was the English champion who took home the spoils with a deserved and hard fought win.
This was viewed as a routine win for Cardle but Barrett had different ideas and outworked his foe to record his career best win. Barrett was floored by a long looping right hand in round two and then again in round 5, this time a short inside shot and body blow bundled him over, but he was not to be deterred on his quest for glory. Cardle attempted to use feints and agility to move away from the relentless pressure and although he had some success, he was caught far too cleanly and far too often.
It was a close fight and inside the arena there were many who thought Cardle had done enough with the knockdowns but the former champion did not complain about the decision. I felt Barrett had just done enough to nick it, the cut that opened up on Cardle’s eye around round 6-7 definitely impacted upon his effectiveness, but a re-match may be warranted down the line.
Scorecards read: 114, 114-112 115-113
Josh Kelly made his professional debut with a six round decision over Dublin’s Jay Byrne. Sunderland born Kelly was a former member of the Elite GB Team and promoter Eddie Hearn has high hopes for him. Kelly looks flashy however seemed to spend a fair bit of time admiring his own work, something that will have to be improved as he climbs the professional ranks. The fight was contested at Super Welter and Kelly will next see action on the Joshua-Klitschko show, April 29th.
Lawrence Okoilie continued his first round knockout streak, putting Lukasz Rusiewicz down three times on his way to victory. Okolie worked the body well but was, at times, overeager and careless with his shots, leading to him taking some unnecessary punches. It is a learning curve for him, however, and I am sure in time his defense will tighten because there is definitely nothing wrong with his offense and speed. Okolie will also see action on April 29th.
Charlie Flynn and Ryan Collins fought to a 3rd round technical draw after Flynn suffered a dreadful cut following a clash of heads. The Celtic lightweight clash was just warming nicely when the collision happened, Flynn left needing 25 stitches to close up the wound. The Commonwealth gold medalist will need plenty of healing time before they can do this one again.
Popular local fighter, Joe Ham took the Scottish Super Bantamweight Title with a win over Scott McCormack. Ham worked the body well and McCormack was wide open to the left hook all night. Ham is quick and threw some nice combos but McCormack was incredibly game and made his opponent work until the very final bell for his victory. Ham moves to 11-0 with 5 early.
Ally Black wasted no time at all as he dispatched Mark Weston with a beautiful right hand in the very first round. The Kirkintillock welterweight (6-3-1) will not have many easier nights than that.
Super Featherweight, Lewis Paulin opened the show with a final round stoppage of Luke Fash, scheduled for 4x3s. The Edinburgh fighter dominated the bout and really poured the pressure on Fash in the closing three minutes. The referee could, and probably should, have stopped it a lot sooner than he did.