ESPN Boxing feature: Isaac Dogboe’s quest to be a world champion again

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Isaac Dogboe of Ghana looks dejected after defeat to Satoshi Shimizu of Japan during their Men's Bantam Weight (56kg) bout on Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on July 28, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

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One of Africa’s top boxing stars is Ghanaian Isaac Dogboe, a 25-year-old former junior featherweight world champion who holds a 21-2-0 career record. Dogboe recently claimed his first win in almost two years, defeating American Chris Avalos by TKO in the eighth and final round of a bout behind closed doors at the MGM Grand Arena in Nevada in July.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 08: Isaac Dogboe punches Emanuel Navarrete during their WBO junior featherweight title fight at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on December 08, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

It saw a return to form after back-to-back losses against Mexican Emanuel Navarete in 2018 and 2019 which cost Dogboe his WBO junior featherweight title.

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Nicknamed ‘Royal Storm’, Dogboe is looking to work his way back to world champion status and, after his convincing win over Avalos, is planning to be back in the ring before the end of 2020.

Carl Moretti, Vice-President of Top Rank (Dogboe’s representatives) said: “We haven’t discussed any opponent yet but I can say that he will definitely be in the ring again before the year ends.”

The Ghanaian has been training under new handlers Barry Hunter and Patrice Harris since relocating to the US in 2019.

GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 25: Isaac Dogboe (L) of Ghana reacts to a knock down punch against Hidenori Otake of Japan during the WBO junior featherweight championship bout at Gila River Arena on August 25, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Dogboe is already looking forward to the next fight but refused to call out any particular opponent in the division. He believes he needs to continue fighting to get his shape back after several months of absence.

“I’m still in fighting shape, I just have to keep the momentum going,” said Dogboe, who has 15 career knockouts under his belt. “I just have to keep familiarising myself with the weight and in the ring as well. After a long time out of the ring, you get rusty.”

“I don’t have any particular opponent on my mind next and would love my team to take up that decision,” he added.

Dogboe has also revealed how he coped with the unusual situation of fighting in an empty venue and preparing in a ‘bio bubble’, as per Covid-19 protocols.

GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 25: Isaac Dogboe of Ghana celebrates his win by knock out over Hidenori Otake (not pictured) during the WBO junior featherweight championship bout at Gila River Arena on August 25, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Fighting in ‘The Bubble’ wasn’t that bad,” explained the Accra-born star. “The week of the fight, fighters don’t really do much. You just kick back, rest and relax. Do what you have to do, thinking about the fight.

“For fighters, you train yourself and your mind to ignore the crowd. Just so that you don’t get sucked into everything that’s coming from outside of the ring. Funnily enough, you could hear noise coming out of the speakers. I think it was coming from the ESPN App, I think they’ve got something called ‘Hear Me Cheer’. It was pretty cool.

“I felt excellent, I listened to my coaches. What they told me, that’s exactly what happened. I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches, Barry Hunter especially. They kept me in my zone.”

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