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Isaac Dogboe, African Boxing Superstar

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

Watching Isaac Dogboe's one-round destruction of Hidenori Otake, the Japanese fighter who came into tonight's bout with a 31-2-3 record, having never previously been stopped, I was reminded of a quote by the late great Buck O'Neil in Ken Burns's epic documentary Baseball. In the last episode of the documentary, O'Neil describes hearing, just three times in his long life, a particular sound of a slugger making contact with a baseball. Capturing the generational and transcendent raw power of Babe Ruth, Josh Gibson, and Bo Jackson, O'Neil gestured toward a thread of greatness tying together the legacy of distinct and disparate stars of the baseball diamond.  

Sadly, I could not be present in Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona for Dogboe's brilliant knockout win. But watching it unfold on ESPN, the pulverizing force of Dogboe's punches jumped through the television and into my living room. This was punching power that seemed more than exceptional. It rather felt like the arrival of something supernatural--after the fight, Dogboe described the power that went through his fists as "the holy spirit"--or perhaps the passing of a comet. After knocking Otake down with a concussive left hook to Otake's chin, Dogboe teed off on the overwhelmed Japanese fighter, landing blow after blow against an opponent known for having a high endurance for punishment. When the referee called a stop to the beating, it was clear that Isaac Dogboe's star continues its ascent across the boxing firmament.  

Given this performance, it is possible that the other leading lights of the junior featherweight division will seek to avoid the Ghanaian star, but if so, no one in this division can make any claim to conquering this weight class until they have faced that power in the ring and lived to tell the tale. 

Azumah Nelson...Dick Tiger...Ike Quartey...Joshua Clottey...Battling Siki...The African continent has produced more than its share of boxing legends. At the tender age of 23, Isaac Dogboe is now poised to join that list. With continued good fortune and commitment, he may one day top it. 

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