By Jake Donovan
Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe has enjoyed a brilliant breakout campaign in 2018, not just because of the in-ring results but also because his flawless ability to captivate the audience.
His extremely marketable combination of talent and charisma has clearly left its mark on the staff at Top Rank, who has presented each of his last two starts and is now on board for the long haul.
Photo Credit: Isaac Dogboe Twitter Account
The unbeaten 122-pound titlist took to social media to reveal his having signed long-term co-promotional agreement with Las Vegas-based Top Rank Inc. on Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but have both sides eagerly looking to the future.
“I am delighted to announce that I have extended my co-promotional agreement on a long-term deal with Top Rank boxing,” Dogboe (20-0, 14KOs) stated on social media Tuesday morning. “RSAP (Rising Star Africa Promotions) and I look forward to welcoming (Top Rank founder and Hall of Fame promoter) Bob Arum and the Top Rank team in our beautiful country, Ghana next year!”
The news was equally celebrated by the very man who plans to make Dogboe boxing’s next major star—both here in the United States and an even larger figure at home.
“We are pleased to announce that we’ve signed world champion Isaac Dogboe to a co-promotional deal with Rising Star Africa Promotions,” Arum said of the new deal. “We are looking forward to exploring the opportunity for Isaac Dogboe to defend his world championship in 2019 in Ghana.”
Dogboe immediately became a cult hero while kicking off the 2018 boxing season with a 5th round stoppage of Cesar Juarez in his birthtown of Accra, Ghana this past January. The win earned him the right to challenge then-unbeaten titleholder Jessie Magdaleno, who is promoted by Top Rank.
The promotional buildup to their April 28 encounter included its rocky moments, including extremely racially-insensitive comments made by Dogboe’s father and trainer, Paul who to his credit immediately walked back his remarks and left the promoting to the experts.
Dogboe went on to stop Magdaleno in the 11th round of their ESPN-televised Fight of the Year-level war in April, trading knockdowns before prevailing late to win the title.
The win was followed by his entering a one-year agreement with Top Rank, which he celebrated in style with a blistering 1st round knockout of Hidenori Otake this past August in Glendale, Arizona. Live sports conflicts delayed the show’s start time, with ESPN cameras barely catching the opening bell. Dogboe tore through his visiting Japanese challenger, dropping him twice en route to an emphatic first title defense.
It has since been suggested by Arum that the Royal Storm will next crash in New York City.
Dogboe was revealed as a highly likely candidate to land on the December 8 ESPN show at MSG’s Hulu Theatre, which will be headlined by the lightweight title unification clash between Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza—the latter whom topped the aforementioned Glendale card in a lightweight title-winning 12-round decision over Ray Beltran.
The December 8 show will immediately follow ESPN’s live coverage of the annual Heisman Trophy Awards, honoring the best college football athlete of the year. The same formula applied last December, when Lomachenko battered Guillermo Rigondeaux atop the second most-watched cable TV boxing show of the year, also at Hulu Theatre (nee MSG Theatre).
Lomachenko (11-1, 9KOs) has since claimed a title in a third weight class, climbing off the deck to stop Jorge Linares in 10 rounds this past May. The two-time Olympic Gold medalist from Ukraine has long been identified along with unbeaten three-division titlist Terence Crawford as the tentpoles for Top Rank’s long-term network deal with ESPN.
A sport always in search of the next crossover star, it’s clear that in Dogboe a Royal Storm is brewing.
“Together with Paul Dogboe and Mike Altamura (Dogboe’s co-manager) we will afford Isaac opportunities to win championships in multiple weight divisions,” Arum promised.