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Isaac Dogboe eyes Olympic bantam glory
Wednesday, 25 July 2012
ISAAC Dogboe is only 17 and will be competing at his first Olympics later this month - but that doesn't mean that he is setting his sights low.
The Stockwell bantamweight is the only South London fighter competing at the 2012 Games - although he will be representing Ghana rather than Great Britain.
Dogboe's first fight will be at the ExCel Arena next Saturday - July 28 - as he mixes it with the world's finest fighters at 56 kilograms.
"I honestly don't want to go there just for the sake of going to participate," said the pupil from St Francis Xavier's school in Clapham. "I want to go, try my very best and achieve something.
"The main aim is for the gold medal. I'm hoping and praying to God.
"I've been boxing for three years and it has been really hard work. If I'm able to achieve the biggest prize in amateur boxing it will be indescribable, so big.
"I'm feeling great. I want to say thanks to almighty God for everything - my health, my strength and for getting me here.
"Right now, I just keep training and keep my head down. I'm thinking about my first fight - that is my main focus - and I'll take it one fight at a time."
Dogboe has spent the last two weeks at Cardiff University, which is hosting the pre-Games training camp.
A constant presence and support has been Dogboe's father Paul - who has trained the teenage Londoner, not 18 until September 26, since he first decided to pull on the gloves.
"I'm not really worried about anything because if you have your dad behind you then sometimes it can make your fearless," explained Isaac. "He is here controlling my diet and doing all my strength and conditioning. I'm feeling strong. The international boxing association, the AIBA, have been very good providing for the boxers at Cardiff University - this place is huge.
"The competition is getting so close. I'll be fighting against grown men with men's strength. Even here I have found that people want to intimidate you but I'm not the kind of person who is intimidated easily because what I have backing me, no-one knows.
"I have a strong force. I have almighty God - so attitudes don't bother me.
"Everything is running smoothly with my dad around me."
Dogboe qualified for the Games by winning a bronze medal at the African Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Casablanca, Morocco, in mid May.
He recently flew back to Ghana for a month but was unfortunately unable to compete for the country in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Games because the event was only open for boxers aged between 19 and 23.
"I know I'm not boxing for Great Britain but I'm a Londoner and from Lambeth," said Dogboe. "I hope people from South London can see the hard work I've put in and it encourages parents to get their children doing the same.
"My dad pushed me hard but it has been hard for him too because he does night work and won't sleep afterwards - instead we'll go training at 5am for three hours.
"I used to do football but it wasn't going too well and I asked my dad about doing boxing. He said to me that if I wanted to I had to do it his way, or not at all. He doesn't want to see me get hurt and regret it for the rest of his life.
"That man is the ultimate tactician - his boxing brain is very good and he is an excellent coach of technique. He's one of the best coaches in the whole of England.
"Since I've been doing it his way then things have been working out.
"We'll see what happens after the Olympics. My destiny is in the hands of God and whatever path he directs me then I will follow.
"I believe with God that everything is possible. I'm praying that God gives me an extra push when times are really hard."
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