Former junior featherweight world champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (24-2, 15 KOs) took a hard-fought split decision over two time title challenger Joet Gonzalez (25-3, 15 KOs) on Saturday night to win the WBO International Featherweight Title at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota.
Dogboe outboxed Gonzalez early on, but Gonzalez’ pressure began to take effect in round four and it was a tough, gritty fight the rest of the way. Scores were 96-94 Gonzalez, 96-94, 96-94 Dogboe. All three judges gave Dogboe the final round. With the win, Dogboe also claimed Gonzalez’ WBO International strap.
“I said to the people that my journey can be a Hollywood blockbuster movie, and I praise God always,” Dogboe said. “I’ve always seen Barry as a very inspirational person, a father figure. 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. I want to say thanks to Joet Gonzalez. He’s a true warrior.
“Whoever the champions are, they should watch out. The ‘Royal Storm,’ I am back, baby!”
Over the first three rounds, Dogboe was in control. He started boxing, successfully moving in and out of the pocket, burrowing in on the taller Gonzalez and escaping before Gonzalez could retaliate. But in the fourth, Gonzalez buckled Dogboe’s knees with an overhand right.
“I should have stepped on the gas a little more,” Gonzalez said. “He’s a shorter fighter and I changed my height and reach, but he wasn’t coming in. I noticed when I was pressing, he was backing up and I was landing some shots, I knew my game plan was to move forward.
“He wasn’t going to come forward to me. I guess it was a close fight. I saw the scoreboard and saw people had it a draw, and some people had me winning. I landed seven more punches than him. It was a close fight, but I thought I won the fight. I buckled him twice in the fight. I landed the cleaner, harder shots.”
Gonzalez had another strong sixth, backing up the smaller Dogboe. That seemed to tighten what appeared to be Dogboe’s early lead. He began letting his hands go more consistently and using his length. After eight, it was easy to see the fight even.
Gonzalez outlanded Dogboe 197-190 in total punches, but Dogboe outlanded Gonzalez in power shots, 164-162.
By: Emmanuel Asabre