Dogboe looking forward to unifying the titles

By David Finger

For American boxing fans, Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe’s eleventh round TKO over undefeated WBO Junior Featherweight champion Jessie Magdaleno on April 28th was nothing short of a bolt of lightning that landed right in the middle of the sport of boxing. Suddenly there wasn’t just a new world champion at 122-pounds…there was a new superstar in waiting. Coming off the deck in the opening round, Dogboe would rally to drop the champion in round five before unleashing a body attack that brought back memories of Mike McCallum. For the next six rounds, Dogboe pounded the body of the champion before dropping him two more times in round eleven, prompting the stoppage.

Photo: David Finger

Dogboe, who promised to become Africa’s first PPV star, not only won the title but he turned heads and made an unmistakable statement to fans and insiders alike. There was a new sheriff in town at 122-pounds…and he was looking to clean house.

Of course, there have been many fighters who promised to shake things up, only for the sport to settle back into the status quo. Every champion promises to unify the title but few get the opportunity to do so, and most don’t push the issue. But for those who have been following Isaac Dogboe’s career, there is a certain ring of legitimacy to his promise of fighting anyone and everyone. He has been a man on a mission from day one and he is wasting no time in reaching his goal of superstardom.

Only time will tell what the future holds for Isaac Dogboe and the 122-pound division. But for many boxing fans, particularly those who remembered where they were when they first saw Manny Pacquiao explode on the scene or where there were when fellow Ghanaian Azumah Nelson first emerged on the radar in the United States, there is a scene of anticipation. A sense that maybe, just maybe, this 23-year old kid who just became the youngest Ghanaian to ever win a world title might actually be something special. That he might just be the kind of fighter that we end up talking about for a long, long time.

Isaac Dogboe took time to speak to® before his flight back to Accra, Ghana.

First of all Isaac, congratulations on your win. How does it feel sitting here now with the WBO belt…a lifetime dream fulfilled?

Thank you. Like I’ve always said, without God nothing is possible. I’m unhurt. We have accomplished something (and overcome) a hurdle which is great. We’ve been on the road for a very long time. It was great…to announce my name to the world of boxing as champion.

Undoubtedly the boxing fans in Ghana are absolutely ecstatic about your win. Any word on what is planned for your return to Accra?

Actually, straight after the fight we received a phone call that Ghana was on fire. Everyone was excited. It’s an amazing feeling. We are going back to Ghana now. It’s going to be a crazy moment. It’ll be great. I can’t wait to see all the fans, all the nation. They have been very supportive. We received a lot of support from everyone. Not only in Ghana but in America also. It’s going to be great.

You have just become the youngest Ghanaian world champion ever. How does that make you feel?

I just feel blessed. Everything that I do is like it is already pre-planned. And me, I’m just walking on a cloud. The youngest to be a world champion in Ghana…what more can I ask for. I thank God.

Have you heard from any of Ghana’s other former world champions yet?

Yeah, we had news that Azumah Nelson congratulated us. It’s amazing. We got a lot of support from a lot of people.

You were the underdog against Jessie but remained supremely confident going into the fight. However, Jessie scored a knockdown in the opening round, the first time you ever hit the canvas. What happened there and what was going through your mind.

I wasn’t hurt. It was just…he threw a shot and my legs got tangled in his legs. I was off balance and I got back up straight away. That was the most important thing. My dad said I went down (but) keep moving. In that moment he gained a lot of confidence…but I kept my cool and everything was tough.

One of the most impressive things about your dominant performance was how you handled yourself in the fifth round. After dropping Magdaleno with a picture perfect punch to the chin you didn’t go wild but instead wisely attacked the body with ferocity. For the next five rounds you never eased up on the body attack. Was that part of your fight strategy? Did you conclude that Jessie would be unable to handle the body attack over 12 rounds?

Well, you know, like I keep saying with my father having issued instructions with everything. I had to keep everything under control. That’s why I was able to keep my cool and I didn’t go crazy.

Despite the bad blood leading up to the fight, you both showed a great deal of class and professionalism after the fight. I asked this question before the fight but I’ll ask it again now: what do you think of Jessie as a person and as a fighter.

I think he’s a great guy. Like I said, the first time I ever met him he seemed really nice. In fights things happen and people say a lot of things they don’t mean. We all move on.

You did say during the lead up that you considered him the “worst champion” in boxing. You also hinted that you want to distinguish your reign from the reign of other fighters in boxing today. Does that mean a unification fight is a possibility this year?

Of course. The most important thing is that we want to fight the best. We have to be a fighter, from an era where the best fighters fight the best fighters. And I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to unifying the titles. Let’s get it on. Because Team Dogboe, we are ready.

Has your team kicked off any negotiations with any of the other champions?

(laughing) I mean just fought on the weekend! We got to takes things a little slower. You’ll be hearing soon.

What is the timetable for the world to get another chance to see Isaac Dogboe in action?

At this moment I can’t really tell, I know my father will say in the next three months or so. We are still in the early stage. There is no rush.

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