BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Isaac Dogboe is South London’s only current world champion – but his goal is to make himself one of the sport’s greats.
The 23-year-old from Stockwell won the interim WBO world super-bantamweight title in January 2018 with a stoppage of Cesar Juarez.
And Dogboe then confirmed his status as the full holder of the belt when he KO’d Jessie Magdaleno in Philadelphia in April.
Next up is a defence of his WBO title against Hidenori Otake in Phoenix, Arizona on August 25.
So far Dogboe’s achievements have flown a little under the radar in the UK. That could partly be down to the fact that a chunk of his career has seen him fighting back in Ghana.
But you can only admire his willingness to travel. Not only has the South London-raised puncher fought in San Diego and Los Angeles, his professional debut came in Switzerland in August 2013 before following up with a bout in Ireland.
Dogboe, who boxed for Ghana at the London Olympics after being overlooked by the GB squad, has not had things handed to him easily.
But he has signed a three-fight deal with top American promotional company Top Rank as his displays begin to create a buzz.
Dogboe, who trains at Miguel’s gym in Brixton, believes not being in the comfort zone on his way to the top has helped his progression.
“When you’re on the road, what happens is you learn – it makes you tough.
“That was the plan my father had. We have to go on the road to prove ourselves, so once you become world champion then you are a formidable fighter. I believe this is where the hard work really starts.
“I am looking forward to becoming more than a one-weight world champion. I’m looking, God-willing, to win a world title at five weights. I’m still growing, I’m only 23. To be the best you have to fight the best. I want to make this division exciting. I want to unify.
“Otake is strong and physical. My dad is a good technician and we’ll make any adjustments needed – strength, skill and intelligence comes into play. I’m looking to knock him out and then fight Daniel Roman [WBA champion] in December.
“We want to leave our mark in the sport. It’s about setting records.
“Come fight night I embrace everything. I have faced trials before, so a fight is not something to discourage me. When you are in there then there is no turning back, whether you like it or not. When the bell goes you have to do what you have to do.”
Dogboe has had few moments of adversity. His record stands at 19-0 with 13 inside-the-distance victories.
His dad, Paul, has been a constant and huge influence in his career. Dogboe junior won his first ABA title at the age of 14 for Lambeth-based Fitzroy Lodge. He also went on to wear an amateur vest for the TA Army.
Accra-born Dogboe is the youngest Ghanaian to win a world title.
Paul never had any doubt his son was a special talent. He said: “Of course I knew he could do it. I know the kid and how humble he was from the beginning and the people he had around him. The TA, and captain Andy Haines, supported him.
“I didn’t know it would come quickly like this. I was always saying to him that by 26 he would be a world champion. It is all about humility and believing in God.
“We’re looking to unify titles in December and from there he will move up to featherweight. We want to be a champion in five or six weights.”
Ghana’s most famous boxer is Azumah Nelson. Also Accra-born, he won world titles at featherweight and super-featherweight.
“Azumah Nelson did not become a world champion until he was 29.
“Azumah is a legend – all these type of guys made the way for this young kid coming up. Isaac looks up to English fighters as well. Boxing started in London for Isaac. He looks up to Henry Cooper and Joe Calzaghe.”
Dogboe is getting ready for the heat in Arizona by splitting his training camp between Ghana and LA.
Paul said: “The conditions will not be a factor because we come from a hot climate – the sun is your friend.
“But because Isaac is not used to the sun of late we have to go back into it, try to get that heat again. When you live in England you have to go back to a hot country where the heat won’t let you breathe so easily.”
PICTURES BY MIKEY WILLIAMS AT TOP RANK BOXING
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