Heading into their first fight, Isaac Dogboe never expected to still have to talk about Emanuel Navarrete this deep into 2019.
The squat super bantamweight saw a potential Fighter of the Year campaign fall by the wayside, along with his unbeaten record and WBO title in a stunning loss to Mexico’s Navarrete last December. The close but clear points loss impacted Dogboe’s vision for his 2019, which was to include a title defense his native Ghana and unification bouts before setting his sights on featherweight and beyond.
Instead, he’s forced to revisit old business at a pivotal point in his career.
“It was a down moment, no question,” Dogboe (20-1, 14KOs) admitted to BoxingScene.com of the lone loss of his career. “But what happened on December 8 is now put behind us. It feels great to have this chance at redemption.”
The two will run it back this weekend, once again airing live on ESPN from the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Ariz. (Saturday, 10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT and local time). Their bout is one of three rematches gracing the show, with the 122-pound title tilt coming in supporting capacity to 130-pound title claimant Miguel Berchelt facing Francisco Vargas, whom he dethroned in an 11th round stoppage in Jan. ’17.
Local welterweights Judas Estrada and Chris Gonzalez will also collide in rematch to their four-round draw last November.
As eager as Dogboe is to gain revenge on Navarrete (26-1, 22KOs) this weekend, the fight represents more than simply avenging his lone defeat.
The 122-pound division is robust with talent, as evidenced in Daniel Roman’s title-unification victory over TJ Doheny in their fantastic war this past April. Also lying ahead is unbeaten titlist Rey Vargas in a title consolidation clash versus Tomoki Kameda in July.
Boxers such as Roman and Vargas have always been on Dogboe’s radar, and very much remain future options should all go according to plan this weekend. Just how far into the future, though, could prove the difference between reaching his goal of becoming undisputed champion and the realization of the damage inflicted by his losing his title.
“Honestly, I’m not here to fight (at 122 pounds) for the long term,” notes Dogboe, who’s fought as heavy as 130 pounds earlier in his career. “Gold willing all goes according to plan on Saturday, we would love to sit down with Roman who just won a great fight, and then Vargas later if he (beats Kameda) to get all of the belts.
“I do know that eventually I will move up in weight, so it’s important to make every fight count. This weekend for me is more or less about setting the record straight. I am focused on Emanuel Navarrete and confident of regaining my title. That’s as much as I want to mention his name. I’m tired of having to talk about him, it’s time to get my title back.”