It's fair to say that recent DAZN shows have been under-whelming, to say the least, and that it's hard to get excited about some of the bouts they have on the docket for the end of the year. We understand the service is good for boxing on paper, but it needs to put on good bouts, and give boxing fans a reason to buy it. Thankfully it does that this week with our One to Watch. It's a bout expect will be technical, tactical, and a coming out party of sorts, for a very talented, and often over-looked, Kazakh hopeful.
The One to Watch?
Daniyar Yeleussinov (9-0, 5) vs Julius Indongo (23-2, 12)
November 27th (Friday)
This bout will see an Olympic champion take their first real step up to world class as they take on a former unified world champion in a major test. A win for the prospect will put on the verge of a world title fight, and legitimise them as a world class professional. It's a test that he needs and a chance to show what he can do against a frustrating, talented, awkward opponent. For all intents and purposes this is an acid test for a very talented and well regarded prospect.
Unbeaten 29 year old Kazakh Daniyar Yeleussinov was one of the standout fighters at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Prior to the Olmypics he had been one of the top amateurs in the world for years and had won pretty much everything there was to win in the unpaids ranks. He had taken gold at World Championships, Asian Games and the Olympics. When he turned professional there was big expectations on his shoulders to go a long way. Sadly however when he turned professional he didn't initially "click". He had incredibly skills, but something was missing. He seemed to lack that professional style early on, but recently he has shown that spite, and now he looks like a fighter who has "IT".
Namibian fighter Julius Indongo is a 37 year old who really was an unknown for much of his career. He'd been a capable amateur, and gone to the 2008 Olympics, but no one outside of Namibia really knew much about him, or followed him during the early portion of his career. In 2014 he claimed a region WBO belt, which helped him get a WBO ranking, but he was still tucked away from the vast majority of boxing fans, picking up wins in his homeland. That was until December 2016, by which point he was 20-0, when he travelled to Russia, as a major under-dog against IBF Light Welterweight world champion Eduard Troyanovsky. The then 33 year old Indongo was supposed to lose, but look like a capable opponent with his unbeaten record. He did what no one expected and stopped the Russian inside a round. He then unified the IBF title with the WBA title, beating Ricky Burns, before losing by stoppage to Terence Crawford and Regis Prograis, as he career looked to wind down. In the ring he's a long, awkward, frustrating fighter, with unexpected power, but his two losses have shown he lacks durability, and at 37 we really do wonder what ambition he has left.
What to expect?
Had this been the Indongo of a few years ago, before his losses, we think this would be an incredibly interesting and tough bout to call. He may never have been the most attractive fighter but in his two big wins the man from Namibia proved there was real talented there, and a genuine awkwardness. Now however he looks about done, and is moving up to Welterweight for this bout. At 37 we really do question what he has in the tank, and what he'll be bringing to the table.
It's not Indongo that we're expecting things from however, instead we are expecting to see Yeleussinov shine here. We expect to see that Kazakh take his chance, grab it with both hands and dominate Indongo. We expect the Kazakh to take may 2 rounds to feel his way into the bout, something expected given he's been out of the ring since December 2019, and then go to town, unleashing his power and speed on the veteran.
If this goes beyond 5 rounds Yeleussinov will feel disappointed. He'll go into this bout knowing he needs to do a number on Indongo, and that's exactly what we expect. An early, dominant, destructive, KO for the Kazakh Thunder.
The bad news?
Sadly for fans we do expect this to be a relative wash, and little more than a showcase. DAZN do put on too many show cases for our liking and this is another in a long line of them, as they try to create stars to market their service on in the future. In fair the entire card looks very much like it will be one sided. Still, we suspect this will be a break out opportunity for an often over-looked Welterweight hopeful
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.