Former President Jerry John Rawlings has urged new World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Bantamweight champion, Isaac Dogboe, to equip himself with a new level of discipline and a higher level of spiritual focus if he is to successfully defend the title for as long as legend Azumah Nelson did.
Flt Lt Rawlings who has supported Dogboe since his return to Ghana a few years ago and has been at most of his fights said it was important that Dogboe and his team adopted Azumah Nelson as a mentor so he can impart his deep insights and spiritual influence to the new champion.
While congratulating Dogboe for defeating Jesse Magdaleno in Philiadelphia about a month ago, the former President stated that the most important asset the new champion required was the discipline to be able to hold onto the title for as long as possible. He confessed however, that unlike other boxing bouts, he had such confidence in Dogboe that he never felt queasy or nervous when Isaac was going into a fight.
“Winning the title is like winning political power. It also has a way of corrupting you. The danger is you can adopt an easy attitude after the victory and lose it all,” he cautioned.
Former President Rawlings who made the call during a courtesy call by Dogboe, his dad, officials of Rising Star Promotions and the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) on Thursday, also expressed gratitude to President Akufo Addo for supporting Dogboe during his difficult journey to the world title.
“At a crucial stage the President did not hesitate to offer his support and we need to thank him for that,” the former President said.
Flt Lt Rawlings also promised to play his part in encouraging the government to invest in boxing following a request by GBA President, Peter Zwennes.
Zwennes expressed the boxing fraternity’s gratitude to the former President for his continued support to the sport and particularly his interest in the success of Dogboe and presence at most of his fights.
He said: “The way Isaac executed the fight plan reminded him so much of Azumah Nelson and Wilfredo Gomez in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1984.” Azumah knocked out Gomez in round 11 of their scheduled 12-rounder on December 8, 1984.
The GBA President commended Isaac, his dad Paul and the Rising Star Promotions team for their hard work and urged former President Rawlings to put in a word with government to support the game of boxing as several promises had not been fulfilled. He also lamented the absence of a government official at ringside in Philadelphia describing it as “inappropriate”.
Champion Dogboe gave glory to God for his victory and thanked the former President for his untiring support.
“Anytime we visited you we left strengthened for the challenge ahead. We thank God for your life,” he stated.
Dogboe said he will attach the same kind of rugged discipline that won him the title to all his future bouts, stating that “if it’s not broken, you do not mend it.”
The champion offered profuse gratitude to his dad and trainer for being his backbone and cushioning most of the stress, allowing him to concentrate on boxing.
Earlier Dogboe’s father had also expressed gratitude to the former President, stating that though it was a hell of a ride, his support opened doors as wherever they sought support Dogboe was referred to as Rawlings’ son.