By David Finger
Well, it’s official. After nearly 30 years Ghana is about to host another world championship fight. For the first time since December of 1988, when Azumah Nelson defended his WBC super featherweight title against Sidnei Dal Rovere, a Ghanaian fighter will be stepping into the ring with a world title of one of the major sanctioning organizations on the line.
WBO #3 ranked Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (17-0, 11 KOs) will take on tough #1 ranked Mexican contender Cesar Juarez (20-5, 15 KOs) of Mexico in what is arguably the most significant fight to ever be hosted in Ghana on January 6, 2018.
The Dogboe-Juarez fight will be for the WBO interim junior featherweight title, a belt currently held by Jesse Magdaleno. However, after Magdaleno was injured while training for his fight with Juarez the WBO ordered an interim title fight to be held between the next two available contenders: the #1 ranked Juarez and the #3 ranked Dogboe (#2 ranked Marlon Tapales was unavailable).
Although the fight initially looked like it would end up in Mexico, Rising Star Africa Promotions won the purse bid and finalized the fight to take place on January 6, 2018 at the Bukom Boxing Arena.
“All we have been praying for is a world title,” Dogboe said of his upcoming fight with Juarez during the WBO Congress aboard the Norwegian Sky cruise ship. “And finally I’ve been given that opportunity.”
Dogboe’s last fight, a dominant sixth round TKO over Argentina’s Javier Chacon in a fight for the WBO International title, took place in the same arena and there is little question that the gritty Mexican will be in hostile territory once he steps into the ring at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra. Nonetheless Juarez has proved to be a dangerous foe, even when on the road. The Mexican contender scored a stunning upset over then undefeated contender Albert Pagara back in July of 2016, stopping the Filipino in eight rounds in San Mateo, California. He will be looking to score another upset over an undefeated contender in Ghana and brings to the fight a reputation for toughness and determination. Few question that Juarez will be the toughest opponent that the 23-year old Ghanaian has faced as a pro, and most assume that he has the skills to compete with any contender in the division…including Isaac Dogboe.
Author’s Note: Joseph Agbeko won the IBO bantamweight title in Accra in 2013 as well as the WBF bantamweight belt in 2001.