Belts matter for Isaac Dogboe…Viva Ghana!

WBO junior featherweight titlist Isaac Dogboe. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


After suffering a knockdown in the first round against defending WBO 122-pound champion Jessie Magdaleno, Ghanaian challenger, Isaac Dogboe found himself in an early hole, at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. But while Magdaleno was sharp early and banking rounds in the first half of the fight, Dogboe stayed dogged and determined.


In the fifth round, a right hand sent Magdaleno to the floor. This was no flash knockdown he sustained and, as he rose to his feet, he was dazed and wobbled.


Just like that, the tide of this battle shifted and Dogboe, with his withering body attack, steadily wore down the southpaw, who fought gamely but was simply overwhelmed by the pressure of the challenger, who floored him twice in the 11th before the fight was waved off by referee Benjy Esteves Jr.


Isaac Dogboe (foreground) vs. Jessie Magdaleno. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


While the fight was officially waved off then, for a few rounds prior, it was evident that this belt would change hands.


“First rounds are always dangerous but I gathered myself and did what I had to do. I appreciate all the support and I want to thank for my team for making this happen,” said Dogboe, who made history by becoming the youngest boxing champion from his country (which has produced such luminaries like Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey), at 23 years old.


There had been a lot of animosity and vitriol in the lead-up to this fight, which was the featured attraction on ESPN, this past weekend, but both sides were gracious in the immediate aftermath. Dogboe stated, “We’re all fighters. We love each other. The pre-fight stuff was taken out of context. This is a great feeling. Azumah Nelson did it and now I can call myself a champion.”


Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


Dogboe (which is pronounced “Dog-bae”) is going to be a tough nut to crack. He’s physically well-conditioned, tough and comes with an aggressive, two-fisted attack. As Magdaleno discovered, he’s not easily dissuaded when faced with adversity.


So what does the future hold for him?


“It’s very exciting, the dynamic has finally changed,” explained Mike Altamura, his adviser, on Sunday morning. “We’ve been chasing for a long time and we’ve been yearning for opportunities for a long time and it’s been reflected in the fact that we took back-to-back fights where (Dogbae) started as the underdog. With (Cesar) Juarez, no one expected him to take it on seven, eight weeks notice from the day of the WBO convention and we needed to raise the funds to pull the event off. So that was a very dangerous, risky proposition.”


That bout was for the WBO interim title back, last January, and Dogboe scored a fifth round TKO in front of his partisans, in Accra, Ghana, which led to this title shot versus Magdaleno. The latter had been scheduled to face Juarez in November but had to pull out of that assignment, citing a hand injury.


“With Jessie, (Dogbae) was a 3-to-1 outsider,” continued Altamura, who, throughout the process, made sure his client’s position and rights were protected within the WBO. “The truth is the fight industry knew it was a real tough fight and a 50/50 fight on paper but in terms of the way it was perceived before they really looked at it that Jessie would find a way to handle Isaac. He might be a little too savvy and experienced.”


Instead Dogboe was simply too strong and persistent for a fighter whose discipline and commitment to the sport had been questionable in the past.


Dogboe is exactly the type of guy beltholders don’t face until they absolutely have to. And if that champion is a huge draw and has other options, such as moving up in weight or just vacating the belt, well, guys like him often get avoided. But the bottom line here is Dogboe is another example of a fighter getting his opportunity because there was a sanctioning body that enforced his mandatory position. Now he’s a beltholder who will be able to parlay this into some lucrative opportunities.


There is talk of a homecoming defense back in Accra and unification bouts against WBA titlist Danny Roman (another guy who has benefited from the sanctioning organizations) down the line. With the WBO strap, Dogboe is right in the thick of things.


So yeah, #BeltsMatter and Dogboe is about to cash in on his.


“It’s my job, as you know, to ensure the money is right, the conditions are right but, from the kid’s perspective, he believes he’s the best 122-pounder on Earth and he’s willing to fight anyone to prove it,” said Altamura.





Meanwhile in Brooklyn, at the Barclays Center, in front of a papered crowd of just under 8,000, former middleweight title challeneger Danny Jacobs was pushed the 12-round distance against the game Maciej Sulecki:



Jacobs came away with the unanimous decision by the scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 117-110. My personal scorecard had it 115-112, with a 12th round knockdown proving to be very pivotal. Now Jacobs waits in line with his WBA mandatory position for unified champion Gennady Golovkin.


In the co-feature on HBO, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller pounded out a 12-round verdict over the durable Johann Duhaupas:



As for what’s next for Miller (who weighed in at an eye-opening 304 pounds), there has been a lot of talk about him facing IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, in late August. It’s not clear if he’ll actually get the type of financial offer he wants to satisfy his wants. (Maybe he should email Eddie Hearn an offer; that seems to be the new trend.) However Joshua’s American debut is penciled in for August 25, in New York.





With Liam Smith dropping out of his bout with WBO junior middleweight titlist Sadam Ali, there was a bit of a scramble to find a replacement. In Smith’s place will be the hard-hitting and undefeated young Mexican Jaime Munguia, 28-0 (24), in Verona, New York on May 12.


“Delighted we saved the show. Sadam is willing to fight any and all. Munguia is probably more dangerous, undefeated and a huge puncher,” said the President of Golden Boy Promotions, Eric Gomez, whose company is staging this card that will be broadcast on HBO.


Also on this show is WBC 122 pound titlist Rey Vargas, who will face the dangerous Azat “Crazy A” Hovhannisyan.





Giovanni Santillan is turning into a very solid welterweight contender…Francisco “Chia” Santana looked good in out-working Felix Diaz, on Friday night, to advance to the next round of the ” Jose Sulaiman World Invitational” tournament in Louisville, Kentucky…Shakur Stevenson looked very good, this past weekend in Philadelphia, in stopping the 12-0 Patrick Riley in two rounds…How Sir Edward Hearn says “Shirley Winkle” every time now is hilarious…ESPN/Top Rank has been on a great run of fights recently…Did you really think the NBA was going to allow Cleveland and LeBron to get booted out of the playoffs in the first round?…Yeah, Braxton Berrios to New England. It just had to be…OK, its not going to rain this weekend at the StubHub Center, right?…I can be reached at and I tweet (a lot) at I also share photos of stuff at and can also be found at




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