Is Isaac Dogboe the new Azumah Nelson?

The great Sugar Ray Robinson once said “To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will”.  Such believe has paddled dreams into reality and adversity into prosperity.

It is the one value that encapsulates Isaac Dogboe’s journey from the sands of Kotei Deduako, Kumasi, where Isaac farmed alongside his grandparents, to the bright neon lights of Los Angeles, USA.  That is where Isaac has been based in recent years, building a promising career that currently boasts a flawless 7-0 record.

Coming from Ghana, with a fierce yet entertaining style, boxing insiders have inevitably compared him with Ghanaian legend Azumah Nelson. Is he the second coming?

That tag may be a little early in the day but a closer look at Isaac’s journey may provide a few clues.

Man on the Move

Born September 26, 1994 in Accra, Isaac grew up in Kumasi and like every regular kid played football until he succumbed to an inner attraction to the pugilistic sport.

Isaac’s shift to boxing was the reason why at age 10, he migrated from Ghana with the senior Dogboe, his father Paul to the UK in 2004.

With Isaac’s burning ambition and modern training facilities Isaac’s development was easily accelerated and in less than 6 years, had made a name for himself within the amateur ranks in the UK.

Interestingly, when the 2012 Olympics was closer home in London, Isaac travelled further back home to Ghana, fought in the trials and qualified for the games aged only 17.

That Olympic high was however short-lived as Isaac was controversially declared loser in his bout; a decision so infuriating that patrons actually staged a walk out in protest. Isaac shook off his disappointed and picked up a valuable lesson; carry your own judge into the ring.

That judge happened to be his fearless nature, his speed of thought and the power of his punches; these he carried with him as he turned pro in 2013 and debuted in Switzerland where he fought and knocked out Csaba Toth in the third round of a 6 round bout in the feather weight division.

Isaac and his team in a bid for stronger completion moved west, to the “Mecca of boxing”, the USA where he fought not only physically intimidating opponents but more experienced ones like  Mexican Wilberth Lopez  at 6’4, fell to Isaac who stands at 5’3.

Isaac has also sparred with World Champions like Carl Frampton and pushed them to their limits.

“Isaac is very tough and he has been prepared to stand and trade with me, which has been a big help in this camp. I have no doubt you will be hearing a lot more about Isaac over the coming years,” Frampton once told the media.

A Royal Storm

Isaac’s successes in the States were down to guidance from his father and coach and personal discipline but above all, his unwavering faith in God.

His father shares roots with the Wovenu family, considered royalty in New Tadzewu in the Volta Region. It is the plan of Isaac and team to dominate the sport by storming the world hence his nickname “the Royal Storm” which symbolizes his roots and ambition.

With Isaac having fought on two other continents, the team has moved into the next phase of the plan which is to fight on the mother continent, Africa and Ghana in particular. Isaac would spend the next four months in Ghana taking on the locals before making an attempt at the WBO African title all in a bid to boost up his record and diversify his portfolio of opponents.

Isaac would also be involved in several events to bond and connect with Ghanaians to garner national support as he prepares to be Ghana’s next world champion.

He has all the attributes, some he shares with the legend Azumah; both featherweights; both carry their own judges into the ring; both good at fighting on the back foot or fighting forward.

The similarities abound and though Isaac would surely grow into his own, carve his own niche, you can be sure about one thing, he would dominate the division for a very long time and in that sense, he is definitely the new Azumah Nelson.

If no one else believes, Isaac, like Sugar Ray Robinson, does and sooner than expected, he would be champion of the world.

Credit: Nii Ayitey Tetteh