Isaac Dogboe’s royal grandfather sent his grandson to England to reunite the eight-year-old with his father and guarantee him a university education.
Torgbui Sri III, the ruler of the Anlo state in the Volta region of Ghana, was not used to being disobeyed so, when he learned young Isaac was boxing, he was heartbroken.
Isaac Dogboe is on a mission to fulfil a promise to his grandfather who sent him to London for a better lifeCredit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
Father Paul had decided his boy was too small and tenacious to play football in their new home in Kennington, South London, so the 5ft 4in terrier would enter the brutal sport of boxing.
Fifteen years and 19 pro fights later and Isaac Dogboe is WBO super-bantamweight champion of the world.
Nicknamed the Royal Storm, Dogboe’s regal lineage and back story make him one of the world’s most unlikely champions.
But they, along with his dreams of a university education, winning smile and ferocious power, should make him one of the most popular.
Young Isaac Dogboe was not supposed to be a fighterCredit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
Dogboe was robbed during the 2012 Olympics in London Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Dogboe took his WBO world title back to Ghana to share with family and dignitaries Credit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
Speaking to SunSport at his Miguel’s gym in Brixton, ahead of his Saturday night title defence, Dogboe said: “I was around eight when I moved over here but my dad was already here and I was just coming to join him.
“Ghana to London to Kennington was a shock, I came in September and it was chilly. I had the heating on full blast all the time but going out was cold but I managed to adapt very quickly.
“At some points school was easy but it was tough at the beginning.
“Early on I got in a fight and I went home to my father and he told me off, he told me to walk away and tell the teacher.
Dogboe dominated the London 2012 fight but was the victim of tragedy and turned pro soon after Credit: Getty Images – Getty
At Miguel’s gym in Brixton, 5ft 4in Dogboe is a rapidly rising star Credit: Arfa Griffiths – The Sun
Isaac Dogboe won the WBO super-bantamweight title in April and makes his first defence on August 25 Credit: Arfa Griffiths – The Sun
“I went back and the next incident was a group of guys who wanted to fight me because I was African. They pushed me in a circle with another guy and just made us fight.
“It was mad, it was totally mad. The guy just started swinging and I was just trying to block and shield myself. I went home with black and bloodshot eyes and my father asked what happened.
“I told him I got beat up but that was the last one I had and I have never been beaten up since.”
At home in Ghana, Dogboe would never have been a target for bullies thanks to his bloodline, but in London he was easy pickings.
Ex-president John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor met with the beaming champion Credit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
Despite the boxing hotbed of Bukum producing Ghanaian world champions like Azumah Nelson and Nana Yaw Konadu, pugilism is for the poor in Ghana, not the royal families.
Isaac was earmarked for a gilded life away from the blood and guts and spit and grit of fighting for money.
So when news reached his grandfather that he was training around his studies, there was an emotional call and an unbreakable promise made, one that is driving Issac toward unifying the division just as forcefully as hopefully gaining his degree in sociology.
Dogboe said: “My grandad phoned my father and said, ‘why are you making my grandson fight?’, he was crying. But me and my dad assured him and we promised I would continue my education.
South London has been home to Isaac Dogboe since he was sent to reunite with his father aged eight Credit: Arfa Griffiths – The Sun
Isaac Dogboe is part of the Torgbui Badu royal family of Anyako Credit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
Isaac Dogboe took his title to King Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King Of The Ashanti Kingdom Credit: Instagram @isaacbraveson
“In Ghana boxing is regarded as a sport that is only really for people who have dropped out of school or been in trouble.
“Everyone in Ghana wants their child to be a doctor, professor, a lawyer or a banker.
“That is one of the things I want to change in Ghana, the way boxing is seen. There are doctors and lawyers who love boxing too.”
Isaac’s father Paul will one day be crowned Torgbui Badu IIII of Anyako but while he is in London he has been Isaac’s coach, cab driver, carer and manager.
The entire journey to the top of the 118lbs division was his idea, born of frustration more than genius in a South London park.
“I have to try to quote what father said exactly,” Isaac said while recalling the moment his dad hit upon the brainwave to swap boots for gloves.