Isaac Dogboe: The Royal Storm riding his way back to his destructive best

One of the most distinctive sayings kindergarten taught me was “at first, if you do not succeed, try, try again”. It is an extract from William Hickson’s poem ‘Try Again’ of the 1800s. A recital we had to go through every morning – a life lesson. In the case of Isaac Dogboe, he has tried one time and tried a second time but, in professional prize fighting, sometimes you need to move on. There are some fighters you might never be able to go past. Like Riddick Bowe failing on two occasions to floor Andrew Golota or Mike Tyson for how great he felt he was at the time failing to defeat an even greater Evander Holyfield. There comes a time when you just have to walk – move on, find someone else to compete with and try to reinvent yourself and Dogboe is on that path now. The past two years have been murky for the young boxer. The start of 2018, though, was a happy one. He beat Cesar Juarez to the shock of many. Juarez was the toast of boxing in the division before the Dogboe fight. On one of my visits to his camp at the Alisa Hotel here in Accra, he was running on the treadmill mildly and smiling at everyone who walked past – almost to suggest that it was an easy task for him to stop Dogboe. “I am here to win. I don’t think I am here to do anything else but win and go for the title later,” Juarez said hubristically after a short interview with him minutes after he stepped off the gym equipment. Dogboe was calm for that fight and stopped him accordingly. It was a technical knockout.

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After that fight Dogboe knew he was on to big things. The main title fight was a mere formality. The Royal Storm had said on different platforms that he in no way feared the champion and called him a weak champion many times. So when he stopped him in the 7th round, there were many who already knew that the then 23-year-old had it in his arsenal to beat Magdaleno. After the Magdaleno win came gratification, applause and plaudits. Dogboe was everywhere. Everyone wanted to shake his hand, his interviews were electrifying and he had a sense of touch he approached every interview with that endeared him to everyone who listened to him speak. This was peak level adulation. He had everyone behind him. Or so it seemed. Dogbe defended his title once against Hidenori Otake, which is by far the easiest fight I have seen him get through before the Navarette fight came in. Navarette was a relatively unknown boxer before he took on the champion. [caption id="attachment_20190" align="alignnone" width="864"] Isaac Dogboe lost his title to Mexico’s Emanuel Navarrete[/caption] Dogboe thought he had it. He didn’t look as pensive as he always looks before his bouts. He looked relaxed and that was worrying to see. When the bell went for the end of the fight, he knew he had been dealt with. He had waited and endured all the punches from Navarette in anticipation for his deadly overhand right punch to floor the Mexican but the opportunity never came. The result was a unanimous decision win for the contender. Dogboe had lost it. He looked bewildered. Crestfallen. Boxing is a cruel sport. It sometimes makes no sense. You just cannot believe it. Six or eight weeks of training or in Dogboe’s case more than 12 weeks for a fight and the fact that the world will just call you a loser when you have put everything on the line is what is supremely wrong about this sport. But just as hard as it can be is why it is so entertaining to watch. Dogboe had lost it. The loss opened a can of worms. Many did not like the fact that his father is by his side. They claimed he wasn’t good enough to guide him to the top. It is a claim Dogboe has vehemently disagreed with. “Family is how you connect with people. You can have people in boxing circles we all refer to as family. They are good for the job. I know people say its not okay to work with family, but I have to make decisions that are best for me. My father being the man that he is, has always made sure that things are done right. So everything is great.” The Navarette rematch was one many felt he shouldn’t have taken. Many claimed that he was far off the mark but Dogboe being as ever confident as he is took it but unfortunately lost again. “Emanuel Navarette, who when we met with back in December was a fine looking fighter who had yet to really prove himself. He proved himself in New York. He proved himself again tonight. A better version of the fighter we saw in December and definitely a fighter worthy of being world champion,” the commentator said after the second fight. All that is in the past now. One year, four hundred and sixty five days and sixty four instagram posts later, Dogboe will be back in the ring to take on Chris Avalos as retribution for how battered his reputation has been since he lost those two fights to Navarette. In a very “silent” tweet, Dogboe announced that he will be taking on Avalos on July 21. He posted it with a photo of himself looking as fit as he looked before the fight against Javier Chacon in Accra in 2017. The news was received well with his fans sending in messages of love and support. Many of us are looking to see him come back – back with a hungrier determination, a trait you lose in the intoxication of so-called greatness when all is well and you are winning so much. Avalos’ record makes for grim reading but Dogboe will not be looking too much at it. Since making his professional debut in 2008, Avalos has fought 34 times, winning 27 and losing in 7. Twenty of those victories have come by knockouts with three of the defeats also by same. His last bout was a defeat against Puerto Rican boxer Abimael Ortiz. The American has danced around the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions and will be looking to relaunch what looks like a failing career with a win against Dogboe. The Royal Storm has been away for a while. Things have been too calm and maybe it is now time to shake things up. “I have always said that my life is a blessing. I have always said that everything has been divinely planned. I am just walking and every stage of my life that I reach, it is like God makes something great happen. I feel that He  has His own plans. I am just a vessel,” Dogboe told me in 2018 after his title win against Magdaleno. Like the famous American jazz composer Miles Davis says, “Sometimes it takes a long time to learn how to play like yourself.” One year is a long time and Dogboe is back to prove himself.
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By Yaw Ofosu Larbi||Ghana]]>