Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe fell short in his attempt to become a two-division world champion, losing the WBO Featherweight world title fight to Cuban Robeisy Ramirez.
Dogboe was never in control of the fight after being rocked by Ramirez in the early rounds before the Cuban dictated the tempo of a highly competitive fight in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early hours of Sunday.
After 12 rounds of gruelling action, the judges were unanimous in their decision, scoring it 117-110, 118-109, 119-108 all in favour of the Cuban, who claimed the vacant WBO featherweight title.
The first sign of a long night in store for Dogboe came midway through round two. Ramirez landed a left hand around the high and tight guard of Dogboe, later followed by a left uppercut at close quarters. Dogboe was visibly affected by the shot, missing wildly with a reactionary right hand after which he wisely clinched to avoid further punishment.
Ramirez used more movement in round three. The Cuban southpaw constantly circled Dogboe and potshotted with left hands and right hooks. Dogboe enjoyed his best moment of the fight to that point when a right hand landed to the body after Ramirez overcommitted on a straight left.
Momentum quickly shifted back in favor of Ramirez early in round four. Dogboe was well short with his power shots while Ramirez fought behind the jab before landing a flurry of punches upstairs. Dogboe briefly caught Ramirez with a right hand and later launched a series of power shots beginning at the one-minute mark of round four, though all were picked off by Ramirez’s gloves during the sequence. Ramirez landed a jab and a straight left in the closing seconds, while Dogboe missed with a right hand.
Dogboe was urged by head trainer Barry Hunter to cease showing Ramirez more respect than necessary. Dogboe did his best to carry out those marching orders but couldn’t manage more than a couple of right hands early in round five. Ramirez kept everything tight down the middle, and even rode out and picked off a late flurry by Dogboe before the bell.
Ramirez continued to land the more potent blows and at the higher clip in round six. Dogboe walked in a straight line in an effort to land his right hand. He would eventually get through but not before he would get picked apart by straight lefts by Ramirez, who landed a startling 21-of-35 power punches in the round.
Dogboe connected with an overhand right that briefly froze Ramirez in place in the seventh. Ramirez recovered but offered a more defensively responsible approach throughout the rest of the frame. Dogboe switched to southpaw inside the final minute but it didn’t produce any favorable results.
Ramirez was momentarily forced to fight in reverse as Dogboe targeted the body in round eight. Ramirez settled down and landed a straight left to put Dogboe on his heels midway through the round.
The same trend developed for Dogboe in round ten. The squat former titlist began with good intentions but without landing anything of note. Ramirez simply moved to his left and positioned himself for straight left hands and the occasional combination straight down the middle. Dogboe picked up the pace late in the round but was mostly catching gloves or air.
Ramirez added to his lead in the proverbial championship rounds. Dogboe stood directly in front of the taller Ramirez, who slammed home a one-two down the middle. Dogboe remained upright, though it wasn’t the case in the twelfth and final round. A left hand by Ramirez produced the bout’s lone knockdown, which came at a point when he was seemingly well ahead on the scorecards.
Dogboe was forced to show mettle as the fight was badly out of reach. Ramirez landed a head-snapping left hand as he slickly dodged Dogboe’s power shots as the bout trickled toward the finish line.
Dogboe fell to 24-3 (15KOs) with the loss, his first since moving up to featherweight on the other side of the pandemic. All three defeats have come at the title level, though his past three wins all came down to majority or split decisions versus fringe contenders.
The charismatic Ghanaian has yet to recapture the magic that came with his brief yet explosive WBO junior featherweight title run. It remains to be seen where his career heads beyond Saturday evening, though there is concern that he has hit his ceiling at featherweight.