By sheer will, brawn, skill and self belief, Isaac Dogboe travelled halfway across the world, beat Jessie Magdaleno, and has become the new WBO super bantamweight/junior featherweight champion.
The 23-year old knocked down his opponent three times en route to causing an upset, but that was after he false-started by going down in the first round.
Dogboe recovered, and scored a knock down of his own in round 5; and then twice in the 11th, before referee Benjy Esteves Jnr stopped the fight. The result improves the Ghanaian's record to 19-0 (13 KO).
First, the fanfare
The last time Ghanaian sportsmen and women returned home after competing on the international stage, they returned to only a media welcome at the Kotoka International Airport. That was almost two weeks ago, when the Commonwealth Games contingent flew in from Australia with one bronze medal.
Dogboe will return home a hero.
Hundreds, if not thousands, will throng the KIA to welcome him. There will be the usual visits to the Presidency (who did not send any rep to support him in Philadelphia, mind you), Manhyia and Torgbuis palaces in the Volta Region. He will receive titles and gifts.
Corporate outfits will aim to tap into his new-found status for marketing purposes – and of course, he’ll cash in.
When all of that is done though, it will be back to making decisions about his career. His options are many.
So, what next?
There's a potential rematch against Magdaleno depending on the conditions that were set forth in the contract for the just-ended fight. The Mexican himself was asked the question following his defeat.
"I'll want to take a look at this fight again before making that call," he said.
And so given the emphatic manner of his loss, team Magdaleno may find a rematch too much of a risk, because a second defeat would be detrimental to his career. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who was behind this fight, seems to think so too, "[Dogboe] will be an attraction because he's an action fighter. Jessie will take some time off, and we'll put him back in probably at 126 [pounds]."
Or should Dogboe look ahead, now?
Which brings us to the other big names in the division.
The super bantamweight’s other titles are held by:
– Rey Vargas (31-0) who holds the WBC crown,
– Daniel Roman (24-2-1) with the WBA strap and
– Ryosuke Iwasa (25-2-0) owning the IBF version.
Unifying the division is not beyond Dogboe, because he possesses the skill and mentality for that ambition. But, he must first deal with a mandatory challenger.
The WBO’s number one rated in the super bantamweight division is another Mexican, Diego De La Hoya. Yes, he is related to Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya; they are cousins.
Diego is an accurate puncher but lacks the power to trouble Dogboe. The Ghanaian is likely to sail through a mandatory challenge against him, but how far he can go depends on the weight decision Isaac takes.
Whatever decision he makes, Isaac must stay in the 122 lbs range. Thankfully, he has his father Paul, who has largely managed his son’s career to the top. The challenge will be to keep the lad up there.
So far, Dogboe Snr has proven to be more than capable.
MORE: Is Dogboe really Ghana's youngest boxing world champion?
ANALYSIS: Three things Dogboe did right to KO Magdaleno
SEE: Dogboe, the champion who never forgets his manners, his roots, and his God
CHECK: How Dogboe beat Magdaleno
READ: Why does Ghana not recognize its own IBO champ, GameBoy Tagoe?