Isaac Dogboe’s life changed for good on April 28. That night in Philadelphia, he became Ghana’s youngest boxing world champion and became public property in the process.
As he absorbed it all in the ring after knocking out Jessie Magdaleno in 11 rounds, he also knew the journey has just started. He can go down in history as one of many Ghanaian sporting prospects who burned bright too early or he can repeat nights like 28th and retain a special place in Ghana sporting history.
He is keen on the latter and has been telling Yaw Ofosu Larbi how he intends to do that on the sports programme WARM UP on TV3 and 3FM.
How does it feel like to be called a boxing world champion Isaac?
In all things we give glory to the Almighty God. It has been an awesome ride, it has been a very long road that we’ve been on. And at this moment we finally feel we have accomplished the goal that we set out.
I feel really normal, I just feel like I’m really blessed because how we were received when we landed, the people, they’ve always supported us and right now we are world champions. We expect more and bigger things to happen in the near future.”
How does it feel to be the youngest boxing world champion ever?
It feels awesome to be the youngest champion, I mean it’s history. I’ve been setting records for sometime now. I went to the Olympics at the age of 17, the youngest the Nation has ever had and although I won nothing and then I have won the world title at the of 23. I feel really blessed. I feel I at every stage in my life, God makes something special happen and I am really grateful for that.
How much effort have you put in to get to this stage?
A lot of work has gone into me and a lot of investment also. At a certain stage, the training and that sort of thing doesn’t feel like work anymore.
As we have gone up in level, the input required to stay top has been greater so you can only appreciate the people that are guiding, that are putting their investment in you. That’s what ultimately ensures that the team keeps achieving its goals.
What in practical terms goes into preparation for a bout like the Magdaleno one before and on the day itself?
About 3 weeks before the fight I don’t really do much. I just rest, sleep a lot and just make sure I am controlling the weight and everything that goes into body.
A day before the fight there is nothing you can do, after the weighing day I just make sure you hydrate properly and then I spend a lot of time visualizing what is going to take place in the ring.
The night before you just have to make sure you are able to have a very good night sleep so that when you go in there you know that is it, there’s no turning back.
On a typical day though, I am up at 3 am, could run for three hours, do some punching exercises. Sometimes I train at the beach. It’s a bit intense.
Your father said before the Magdaleno bout that we will see Azumah Nelson reborn. Do you think we you can be that?
I leave that question for the public to answer. I’ve seen Azumah Nelson fight and he is an absolute legend who opened the gateway for many of us. He is an incredibly big shoes to fill.
We have to understand that to get to Azumah Nelson’s level it takes a lot, the man reigned for a decade or more. I’m just a newly crowned champion so let’s see where God leads me.
Let’s reflect a bit on the Magdaleno fight then. He knocked you down in round one, the first time ever in your career.
Muhammad Ali once said that it takes a great man to go down and get up again. Staying down is the problem it is not going down. When you go down you must get back up.
I wasn’t really hurt when I went down, I believe my leg was caught up with his legs and lost balance and went down although the punch still touched me but it was not a punch that rocked my bolt. I was still in a good frame of mind. I knew it was time to go back to work, I listened to instructions to the tail and we came up on top.
What were you thinking throughout the fight, as the bout built up?
Psychologically during the build up to the fight we knew that they were losing, we knew that everything that we said for some reason it just went straight into his heart and also knew this fight was going to be a knockout victory for us because it was already predicted.
There was no point in time when we thought we were going to lose this fight. Getting in the ring, all I had to do was to just remain focused. All I had to do was to make sure that I was fighting with passion so every punch that I threw, I threw with passion behind it so I knew at the end of the night we were going to carry the day.”
Did you think you needed to win by a knockout at all cost?
Yes, to make a statement yes because he was the champion. We wanted to prove to the world of boxing that they were wrong about making me the underdog before the fight and we did that.
We knew that he is the champion, before you take something from a champion you have to actually discipline him; you have to put him in his place, let them know you’ve won.
Your father gave you a big hug after the knockout. What did he tell you at that point?
I think it was just a sigh of relief mainly. I was in a neutral corner and I saw the referee wave the fight off and I saw Jessie still on the floor. My initial reaction was just go down and say Lord I thank you and after I got up I look into my corner and saw my father running towards me, he just came and just picked me up. (smiles broadly).
I can’t really remember what he said but there was some sort of energy that you don’t even have to speak to realise that this is it so it was just a sigh of relief…It’s like yeah we did it at long last. I just felt like all the struggles he has gone through getting me where I am today we’ve actually managed to make something great come out of it.
Every time I enter into a fight, my only worry is what if something goes wrong? What if we don’t get the results we want? Those are the things that sometimes can go through your mind, the fear of failure because my father has put in so much.
You said before the fight that you wanted to let the world know who Isaac Dogboe is. You made your point?
Of course, according to the statistics that came about the viewership of that show, almost people close to a million tuned in to watch that fight so we actually achieved what we wanted.
After the fight Bob Arum said ‘I’m something special, I’m like a diamond a gem’ so I believe that the whole American population everybody now knows Isaac Dogboe, everybody is talking about Isaac Dogboe.
It is not by my own strength; in all things I give glory to God because I keep saying with God all things are possible. At this stage, at this moment in time we can just keep working hard, we can just carry on with what we are doing and we know that bigger and better things are ahead of us.
What’s next for you after sealing the world title?
What’s next for me? To be somewhere on the beach side with my sun glasses and my sun hat and just cross my leg and just be chilling. (Laughs).
Seriously at this moment upon my discussion with Top Rank, what my father made me understand it that, in August I will be going out in the ring again but it’s not concrete just yet but that will be my first defence and after that we will be looking forward to unifying the division, fight other world champions in the division and then from there we will see what is next..
What sort of legacy do you want to leave?
When after everything is done, how I want to be remembered as this kid who believed that with God all things are possible and worked hard for it and believed every step of the way.
I want to bring hope to as many people as possible through what I do and inspire them to believe that if they believe and work hard everything is possible.
By TV3 Sports|3news.com|Ghana