Isaac Dogboe came through a tremendous 10-round battle with America’s Joet Gonzalez to win a split decision at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota on Saturday.
A WBC featherweight title eliminator, that also had a WBO International belt on the line, Dogboe is now well placed to challenge for a world title in his next fight as he pursues his dream of becoming a two-time world champion.
Dogboe started well in Saturday’s contest but as the bout developed, Gonzalez came on strongly. He threw combinations of punches, looking dangerous when Ghana’s Dogboe retreated to the ropes.
Gonzalez kept up his workrate, but when Dogboe took shots, he came back with his own hits. He fired hard hooks into Gonazlez and slugged his right into the body.
Gonzalez began to line up clean right crosses, popping them through flush as he advanced in the eighth round.
“Royal Storm” Dogboe though was undeterred. He stood his ground in the ninth round, firing heavy punches in. A clubbing right hook stalled Gonzalez for a moment and Dogboe used those scything shots up close as he went to work.
Going into the 10th and last round, trainer Barry Hunter urged Dogboe on in the corner, knowing a close fight like this needed a determined final effort. Dogboe delivered it.
“I’ve always seen Barry as a very inspirational person, a father figure,” he said.
“He’s a person that when it seems like it’s all gone, he always has something to say to you. I really needed him in my corner. He was able to pull that extra strength in me out.”
Dogboe doubled his right hook and caught Gonzalez with the right again as he came in. The two went toe-to-toe with Dogboe digging his left to the body as Gonzalez poured on punches of his own.
Dogboe countered him where he could and they traded furious right hands as time ticked down in the fight. The Ghanaian unleashed a burst of hooks to finish confidently before waiting for the decision.
The judges were split. Patrick Morley had Gonzalez just ahead at 96-94 but his score was overruled by Tim Cheatham and Mike Fitzgerald who both scored for Dogboe by the same margin.
It was a close, exciting fight and hugely significant for the winner’s career. After a high level contest like this the next natural step will be a world title fight.
“My journey could be a Hollywood blockbuster movie,” Dogboe said.
“It doesn’t matter what fight you’re in. Regardless of wherever there is darkness, keep on going through it. Because at the end of the day you will surely see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I want to say thanks to Joet Gonzalez. He’s a true warrior,” he added.
“Whoever the champions are, they should watch out. The ‘Royal Storm,’ I am back, baby!”
Gonzalez admitted it had been a “close fight”.
But he said, “I thought I won the fight. I buckled him, I believe, twice in the fight. I stunned him.
“He didn’t really land too many shots. I landed the cleaner, harder shots. I was pushing him back, and he was holding most of the time. Roughing me and trying to stop me. But I thought I won the fight.”