By Jake Donovan
Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe will cap his breakout 2018 campaign in grand style, defending his super bantamweight title in New York City.
The unbeaten 122-pound titlist from Ghana will make the second defense of his crown versus Mexico’s Emmanuel Navarrete on December 8 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre. The bout will air live on ESPN in chief support to the lightweight title unification clash between pound-for-pound entrant Vasyl Lomachenko and Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza.
“Put me among the best, and you’ll see the best of ‘Royal Storm’,” Dogboe (20-0, 14KOs) said of his upcoming bout, his fourth in a Fight of the Year-level 2018 campaign. “We love the New York crowd. That’s what will motivate us and make us fight harder. Madison Square Garden is a legendary place. It’s a place where many fighters were made.”
For Dogboe, the journey to cult favorite actually began at home this past January. The charismatic 24-year old became an instant hit on the strength of his 5th round stoppage of Cesar Juarez in Accra, Ghana. The interim title fight came on the first weekend of 2018, officially kicking off the boxing season and positioning Dogboe for a shot at a real title.
That moment came less than four months later, with Dogboe overcoming an early knockdown to drop and stop previously unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno in the 11th round of their thriller to win the 122-pound title this past April. The bout aired live on ESPN, as did his first title defense—a crushing 1st round knockout of Japan’s Hidenori Otake this past August.
Through a co-promotional arrangement with Top Rank, Dogboe continues to enjoy increased exposure on the all-sports network where he has quickly emerged as a series favorite.
His rise to fame is in stark contrast to that of his opponent.
Navarrete (25-1, 22KOs) comes in with little profile, having fought exclusively in Mexico and whose bouts have only been seen by US audiences through showcase appearances on beInSport Español.
Still, the 23-year old challenger is riding a wave of confidence ahead of his first career title fight. He enters on the heels of a 20-fight win streak dating back to 2012 and has scored stoppage wins in each of his last eight starts.
While his level of opposition is inferior to that of the defending titlist, Navarrete—like Dogboe—has enjoyed an active 2018 campaign. The forthcoming clash will mark his 5th ring appearance of the year—and the one that he promises will produce a major shakeup.
“This is the opportunity I was waiting for,” Navarrete insists. “I have a lot of respect for Isaac Dogboe, but this title will be mine. I feel very happy and motivated by this opportunity, even more, because of fighting in New York City.
“I know that from Dec. 8 forward, the name Emanuel Navarrete will be known all around the world. I’m sure this win will be mine.”
Not only will Dogboe do his best to disprove that claim, but also make sure his own performance is the one that the crowd best remembers by night’s end.
“Lomachenko and Pedraza are great fighters and being featured on a show with other great fighters is an honor,” Dogboe notes. “We are ready to roll. And to my fans, trust me, the ‘Royal Storm’ is coming to entertain!”