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Indongo receives rapturous homecoming

JULIUS Indongo arrived back in Namibia to a rapturous welcome on Monday morning after his victory against Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday night.
Indongo gave a dominant display to win the fight on a unanimous points decision, to add Burns' WBA super lightweight title to his own IBF and IBO world championship belts.

In the process he became the first Namibian to hold three world titles at the same time, with only the WBC belt now not in his possession. That title is held by Terence Crawford of the United States, and calls for a super fight between the two to unify the division will now grow stronger.

Yesterday, he was the centre of attraction as he touched down at the Hosea Kutako Airport shortly before 10h00 on Monday morning.

A government delegation including deputy minister of sport Agnes Tjongarero, deputy sport director Joanne Manuel and Namibia Sport Commissioner Joel Matthews was on hand to welcome him back, including members of his family as well as several hundred fans who gave him a rousing welcome.

At a hastily prepared press conference, Indongo thanked everyone for their support, before he broke down, overwhelmed by emotion.

“Thanks to all of you who are here - I love you, I love Namibia, thanks for coming. Thank you to the deputy minister who has come a long way with me since I represented Namibia at amateur level. This didn't happen overnight, it was a long journey and took me 15 years to reach the top,” he said.

Indongo thanked his training camp and his sparring partners for pushing him to the limit as well as Harry Simon, Namibia's first boxing world champion for his advice.

“I received advice from our first world champion before the fight, and when you fight someone in his own backyard it's not easy, you've got to be a man. When I looked out amongst the crowd I saw some Namibian fans with our flag and it gave me a big boost of confidence, I was on fire. I'd like to thank those fans who travelled long distances to be at the fight,” he said, before being overcome by emotion.

Tim Ekandjo of MTC, who was also at the fight, said the Namibian fans at the fight venue in Glasgow made a big difference.

“The reason why Julius broke down now is because he found 15 000 Scottish fans cheering wildly for their man and only about 30 Namibian fans who had come to support him. But they made a big difference, they never stopped cheering and it was beautiful to see the support that we got,” he said.

He called on Namibians companies to support sport from the grassroots level up.

“You must become a part of the journey from the start and not just when they succeed. If you want to give money, we will give it to Nestor (Tobias) to create more world champions,” he said.

Tjongarero called out Indongo's mother, Freda Johannes and thanked her for 'raising a champion'.'

“You are our champion,” she said, before adding, “thanks for giving us Julius Indongo, he is Namibia's champion.”

Tjongarero thanked everyone who helped Indongo throughout his career, while she also had words of praise for Indongo.

“Thanks for your endurance, Julius, thanks for not quitting and thanks for putting Namibia on the world map. The whole of Namibia was watching and we are all very proud of you,” she said.

Matthews said that despite the tough financial challenges facing Namibian sport codes, the country still managed to produce world champions.

“The Namibian sports industry is facing tough financial challenges. We are a small nation, but the bigger nations in terms of population and investments cannot come close to what Namibia has achieved,” he said.

Matthews also thanked Tobias and his coaching staff for producing a world champion in Indongo.

“Thanks to your team, thanks for producing a champion, a son of the soil who made Namibians so proud,” he said.

And then it was time for the hustle and bustle of a photo session as hordes of fans elbowed their way in between press photographers for a photo of Namibia's man of the moment. Indongo, however, remained calm and relaxed throughout, giving all his fans time for a photo and a smile.

  • Title: Indongo receives rapturous homecoming
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