I don’t want to gloat, but if you’ve been following my boxing reports here on The Finger Post, you’ll have noticed that we were first to predict two of the biggest developments in the lighter weight classes in October.
Well, it’s official. The Thai champion will go for his 49th victory against the Kumamoto native.
Then, on October 9th I speculated that during the WBO 30th Annual Congress we might see Isaac Dogboe or Marlon Tapales take on Cesar Juarez for a WBO interim belt. At the time Juarez was slated to fight Jessie Magdaleno, the WBO junior featherweight champion on November 11th but the fight was scrapped when Magdaleno was forced to bow out with an injury. Well, at the WBO Congress it was announced that Magdaleno would not be ready to defend his title in the near future and that Cesar Juarez would in fact be taking on the next available contender in a bid for the interim title.
Finger Post Boxing: Ghana comes to Havana at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym
October 24, 2017
It’s hard to pinpoint what would be the closest thing to boxing’s Mecca, but a strong argument would have to be made for Havana, Cuba. It is arguable that there is no other place on the planet where boxing has as strong a fan base, thanks in large part to Cuba’s success in the Olympics. Since 1968 Cuban boxers have won gold an astonishing 38 times, and almost all of those fighters have developed their world class skill in one of the most famous boxing gyms the world over: The Rafael Trejo Gimnasio de Boxeo in downtown Havana. It is a boxing gym that has seen their share of world class fighters over the years.
Well, you can add one more to the list.
Accra, Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe stopped off this afternoon (October 24, 2017) to do some pad work and breath in the atmosphere that is Cuban boxing. And after several rounds of shadow boxing and on the pads it was clear that quite a few of the local kids who gathered to watch Dogboe workout were now fans of the undefeated junior featherweight contender. And perhaps more notably, the coaching staff at the Rafael Trejo Boxing Gym were impressed with Dogboe as well.
“He’s strong,” one of the coaches said as he watched Dogboe from ringside. “And very fast.”
Dogboe was appreciative of the opportunity to workout at the historic gym.
“This is a famous gym in Cuba,” Dogboe said after his workout. “The (WBO congress) general meeting and afterwards we landed in Cuba. We were touring around and we discovered this place and we thought why not? We have boxing gloves in our bag.”
Dogboe was nonetheless humbled to have worked out in such a legendary gym.
“Home of champions indeed. It’s no different from Ghana. I came here to try their system of training. That’s why the excel. It’s practice and repetition. I just remembered my father. You do one ting over and over and over again…that’s what makes you perfect.”
And herein lies the real drama, because most likely the October rankings will be decided during the Congress, and nipping at the heels of Tapalas is the WBO #3 ranked contender, undefeated Isaac Dogboe from Ghana.
If the WBO concurs with Cesar Juarez and decides to allow Juarez to fight the next available contender for the interim title (and that’s a big if) they could end up going with Dogboe, who last fought for the WBO International Title back in July (Tapales has not fought since April in a defense of his WBO bantamweight title, as has yet to fight at 122-pounds). This in turn could force Tapales to take an ill-advised November 11th fight…if he thinks Dogboe may leapfrog over him in the world rankings during the WBO Congress.
Now Tapales is a road warrior (his last three fights were in hostile territory, and two of them were world title fights) so I am sure if anyone in boxing could and would take a world title fight on two weeks notice against a Cesar Juarez, it is Tapales. But don’t rule out Team Dogboe just yet.
Regardless of how things pan out, the last day of the WBO Congress will undoubtedly be a nail-biter for boxing fans in the Philippines and Ghana both.