Isaac Dogboe fights Joet Gonzalez in a crucial clash, watch live in the early hours of Sunday morning, from 2am on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action; Dogboe is gunning for Josh Warrington in the UK as he pursues his dream of becoming a two-time world champion
Friday 22 July 2022 13:45, UK
Isaac Dogboe was once a world champion and is determined to become one again.
If he is to do so he must first overcome Joet Gonzalez this weekend at the Grand Casino Hinckley in Minnesota, live on Sky Sports.
Dogboe shot to prominence with his rousing pre-fight battlecry of "Neho!" - which means to uproot - and winning the WBO super-bantamweight in a stirring performance when he hammered Jessie Magdaleno in 2018.
But he suffered painful back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete and has had to rebuild. Moving up to featherweight, he linked up with new trainer Barry Hunter and over the last two years has taken three wins against good quality opposition in Chris Avalos, Adam Lopez and Christopher Diaz.
"It's all about getting back on top again. When I lost to Navarrete the second time, with my face all swelled up and everything else, I gave him all the props, he was the better man on the night. But I did say that I was going to be back," he told Sky Sports.
"It's been rough and it's been great. There's been a lot of learning along the way and I'm proud of it. I'm really proud of it. I say it's been character building years. So I'm really really proud of all the experiences and everything that I've gone through. I'm really, really grateful to be back mixing it up with top-level fighters again, getting back to this level again. I praise God and I praise my team and Top Rank and everyone that's involved."
Gonzalez is a top-level fighter himself. He's only lost twice in his 27-bout career and those defeats only came against the best of the best, Navarrete and the brilliant Shakur Stevenson.
The styles of Dogboe and Gonzalez are likely to combine for an explosive fight.
"We've studied him," Dogboe said. "He's no pushover. He always comes to fight. That's his nature. It's one of those things where I know that he's bringing it.
"I believe he's going to come for me. I also believe his corner might actually tell him, you know what, he should try and box me."
But he added, "You can't really change overnight. You can't change entirely overnight. At some point in time you're going to go back to your old habits and it's up to your team to like steer you back on track. We're just looking forward to the fight.
"I'm really looking forward to what he brings to the table. I know he's a high-energy level fighter. He just likes to just keep going. We've got something planned for him."
The event which could turn into a crowd-pleasing 10-round barnburner in the early hours of Sunday morning, live from 2am on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action, is promoted by Top Rank. Todd duBoef, the Top Rank president, is certain the winner will be well placed for another world title shot.
"One of the things we've seen is when you put these high-quality guys in matches together and they take this step, it inevitably makes them right there in line," DuBoef told Sky Sports.
"They're not sitting around waiting for tune-up fights. They're actually fighting a high-performance fight. Dogboe is coming off the win he had a couple of months ago. A lot of people think it was a very close fight. And Joet Gonzalez, we recently made him part of our stable. He is a really terrific fighter… Shakur gave him a lot of respect. He did not take risks.
"It will be a terrific fight. It's fantastic and I think stylistically it's going to be better.
"This one is one where they both come throwing at each other and that's what makes boxing so wonderful."
DuBoef has also identified a fight with Michael Conlan as a good option for Dogboe. "I can see it happening," the Top Rank president said. "Great weight class, a lot of good matchups, a lot of good places to go.
"It may not be the case that the title opportunity is the best opportunity. And it may be that Dogboe and Conlan becomes the biggest fight out there for the two of them and there may not be a title associated. It doesn't diminish the value of the fight at all.
"Stylistically and from a fanbase point of view it may be a wonderful match to have so we weigh all of those things as we move forward."
There is another exciting fight Dogboe is gunning for. He wants to challenge the IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington.
"I would love that fight. I love the way he fights. He's also not a pushover. I believe myself and Josh Warrington would be a great fight, would be an exciting fight for the UK fans. It's a fight that I would love to have. I would love to test him," Dogboe said.
Born in Ghana, Dogboe was raised in south London. His path through boxing has taken him from competing at places like Fairfield Halls in Croydon as an amateur and winning the national championships in Houghton-Le-Spring in the North East of England. Nicknamed "Royal Storm," he represented Ghana at the Olympics and professionally has fought predominately in Ghana and the USA.
"It's really been one hell of a journey," he said. "I'm under the radar and before you know it I just took the world by storm and just automatically became 'Royal Storm' - you don't know when it's coming to hit until it just hits you. So it's just something that we adopted and it just took off from there."
Dogboe wants to return to the UK for a fight and Warrington would be the perfect opportunity for that.
"That was where everything started for me. Everything started in London. Coming back would be a great homecoming. It's one thing I'm really looking forward to," he said. "When the time comes he would be one of the guys I would love to get in the ring with."
Dogboe's goal is clear. "I want to get in the big fights with the guys with the titles," he said. "Two-time world champion. I'm really looking forward to that. That'll be another huge achievement. For myself, for my camp and for everyone that looks up to me."
Watch Joet Gonzalez vs Isaac Dogboe in the early hours of Sunday morning, live from 2am on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action.
The biggest fight in the history of women's boxing - Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall - is live on Sky Sports on Saturday, September 10. Be part of history and buy tickets for the London showdown here.