Ghana’s Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe on Friday night put on a demonstration often seen in champions to overcome a tough, well-conditioned and rugged Philippine opponent, Neil John Tabanao ‘Singwangtsa’ via a unanimous points decision to win the WBC World Youth featherweight title.
Indisputably, it is the toughest in Dogboe’s record that improves to 14 fights without blemish while Tabanao suffered a second loss in an enviable record of 12 wins with 10 through the short rout.
After 12 rounds of grueling and exhausting exchanges, no one was left in doubt over who the winner would be despite the opposition the Filippino offered.
Not long after, the decision of the judges – Erasmus Owoo, Shadrack Acquaye and May Mensah Akakpo who scored 112-109, 117-113 and 119-110 respectively – confirmed the fans’ judgment.
Both boxers did not only fulfill the pre-fight vow to sell a good fight to the fans but also painted a ‘war’ picture as the packed to capacity fans that included former President, Jerry John Rawlings, Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) President, Peter Zwennes, former world champion, Azumah Nelson, Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan, Hiplife musician, Samini and a host of others sat at the edges of their seats hoping to see another stoppage by the Ghanaian.
But while Dogboe took inspiration from Nelson just before the sound of the bell, Tabanao proved he also hail from the same region as Philippine ‘giant’ Manny Pacquiao as they aimed to prove who the true warrior was and who deserved to unify the their respective WBO Africa featherweight title and WBO Asia OPBF (Oriental) titles.
The charged and electrifying atmosphere at the Police Officers Social and Fitness Centre (POSFC) turned tranquil after the first two rounds of action with no indication of Tabanao been a ‘soft’ boxer as a number of fans had believed.
Indeed, it was a war situation. The rounds were fiercely and closely contested with Dogboe slightly ahead.
But Tabanao’s occasional charges and ability to take Dogboe’s punches and return them with equal measure proved patrons were in for a longer night than expected.
Dogboe caught Tabanao with a heft right that made him wobble but failed to finish it as Tabanao defended himself well.
The fans responded with loud cheers which spurred the Ghanaian on for another onslaught that clearly put Tabanao in trouble but also exposed his good defense and solid chin.
The sixth round was explosive as both boxers stood toe-to-toe connecting to head and body which left Tabanao with some light bruises around his left eye and Dogboe with a swell around the eye.
That became Tabanao’s target, directing his punches there but Dogboe ignored that challenge to protect the swell and rather chase Tabanao and caught him again in the seventh round with three right-left-right combination.
Tabanao started the 10th round on the offensive, attacking Dogboe with jabs directed at his swollen eye but repulsed with accurate body shots aimed at getting Tabanao to drop guard but he proved too good a boxer to fall for that.
It remained an end-to-end action in the rest of the rounds with referee Roger Barnor ruling Dogboe’s fall in the final round as a slip.
In the end, Dogboe’s effort was rewarded with a unanimous decision victory that takes him to the top five ranking of the WBO and in pole position for a shot at the world title.
Promoted by Aborigines Beach Resort and Rising Stars Africa Promotion, the evening also saw former Commonwealth champion, Obodai Sai earn a sixth round Technical Knockout victory over Burkina Faso’s Iddrissa Kabore to become the new WBO Africa super middleweight champion.
In a six-rounder super lightweight contest, Nathaniel Nuukpe defeated Enoch Lamptey with a fourth round knockout; Togolese international had a majority decision over Ghana’s Agyeman Prempeh in a middleweight contest while Daniel Aduku earned a majority decision over James Lamptey in a welterweight contest.
By Andrew Nortey