Former unified world champion Julius Indongo has advised Commonwealth gold champion Jonas Junias Jonas to turn professional.
Jonas (pictured) won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Australia in April when he defeated Thomas Blumenfeld of Canada 5-0 on points in the men’s 64kg boxing final.
Indongo told the Windhoek Observer in an interview that Jonas is “too good” to stay in the amateur ranks, adding that time was running out for the 24-year-old champion.
“Look what happened to Mujandjae Kasuto who stayed for long at the amateur level and up to today he still has not fulfilled his dream in the professional ranks.
“Jonas is too good to stay as an amateur. Maybe he does not want to turn professional. In the professional ranks, Jonas can receive recognition in the world. I wish I could advise Jonas to turn professional,” said Indongo at the sidelines of his first amateur boxing tournament that was held at the Deo Gloria Sentrum in Pioneers Park, Windhoek, on Friday.
On his part, Jonas said he still has a lot to offer at the amateur level.
He said he wants to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan before he can think of turning professional.
“My dream is to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. I will see after that,” Jonas said.
Meanwhile, the first edition of the Julius ‘Blue Machine’ Indongo annual boxing tournament was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero.
The event, featuring ten amateur fights, attracted attention from professional boxers including former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Bantamweight world champion and IBO Super-Bantamweight world champion, Paulus ‘Rock’ Ambunda.
Other stars at the event were Jeremiah Nakathila, the current WBO Africa Super Featherweight champion and Mikka ‘Mike’ Shonena, WBO Africa Featherweight champion and WBO Africa Welterweight champion.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer, the former International Boxing Organisation (IBO), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) Super-lightweight champion said the amateur tournament was well organized although it was marred by a low turnout.
“Namibians are used to Saturday as the day for sport, but at the end of the day, we chose the Pioneers Park venue for the safety of people’s cars and we did not experience any break- ins.”
Indongo said there are plans in place to make the tournament an annual event.
“My next step is to write a letter to the control board this week requesting them to give me the go-ahead to start a boxing series that will keep professional boxers hard at work since not all of them box on a regular basis.
“This series will be divided in groups and there will be money at stake. Starting from the semi-finals, boxers will each receive N$10,000. We also need to find out about the number of boxers in each weight division so that they fight out for national titles although that is not the real aim, but that will be good.
“The winner of the series will pocket money that will be enough to buy a second-hand car. First, we will need to have a sponsor for that and we are already hard at work in searching for a sponsor,” Indongo said.
The Blue Machine said the professional tournament will be run by his new friend in boxing, Riaan Coetzee, the founder member of 12 Rounds Boxing Academy in Windhoek.
“I will not be involved much in the professional tournament as I will hand it over to Coetzee because he is the one that made the Friday tournament go smoothly,” Indongo said.
African Connection (AC) Boxing and Fitness Academy founder, Immanuel ‘Imms’ Moses, said Indongo’s initiative was a step in the right direction for the development of boxing at the grassroots level.
“The aim is to develop boxing. It also unites people even if they do not visit one another at their homes,” Moses said.
Below are the results of the boxing tournament that took place last Friday:
Arno Jacobs lost to Kamuandja Hainja, Nestor Thomas beat Arnold Jacobs (twin of Arno), Paulus Matheus lost to Flame Nangolo, Immanuel Nghilongwa beat Rian Rispel, Christopher Ipinge beat Johannes Rwishi, Eslon Kalus lost to Junior ‘Mosquito’ Shaanika, Johannes Andreas beat Usko Riabeani, Heita Nata beat Sackaria Kandjambanga, Jonas Petrus beat Shikongo Andreas and Shilongo Shikongo beat Hek Rotes.
The winning boxers walked away with bags that each consisted of two pairs of boxing gloves, a skipping rope as well as mouth and head guards.