Isaac Dogboe didn’t listen to what was said or written about him following back-to-back losses to Emmanuel Navarrete.

Dogboe didn’t believe he was “done” at the age of 24, despite that Navarrete stopped him in the 12th round of their WBO 122-pound championship rematch in May 2019. The Ghanaian veteran instead hired respected trainer Barry Hunter and moved up to the featherweight division.

The 27-year-old Dogboe is undefeated in three featherweight fights since July 2020. If he beats Joet Gonzalez on Saturday night in Hinckley, Minnesota, Dogboe will become the mandatory challenger for Navarrete’s WBO featherweight title.

“There was a time when people were actually saying that they think I’m done,” Dogboe told “If I had listened to what people were saying, I would’ve said, ‘Maybe the people are right.’ It just essentially shows that what people are saying, you can’t listen to people. You have to have your focus and that affirmation in your heart, knowing you can do it and being true to stay to yourself. You have to stay focused and go out there and do your work, and that’s the way it’s been.”

Dogboe (23-2, 15 KOs), of Tampa, Florida, and Gonzalez (25-2, 15 KOs), of Glendora, California, will square off in a 12-round WBO featherweight elimination match that’ll headline an ESPN+ stream from Grand Casino Hinckley. Undercard coverage on ESPN+ is scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m. ET.

Gonzalez (25-2, 15 KOs) has lost only 12-round unanimous decisions to former champ Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) and Navarrete (35-1, 29 KOs) in fights for the WBO 126-pound crown. The 28-year-old Gonzalez can earn a third shot at that WBO belt by beating Dogboe, who wants his own third opportunity to defeat Mexico’s Navarrete.

“I know it’s gonna be a challenging fight,” Dogboe said. “However, I also know it’s gonna be an exciting fight for the fans. You know, because these are two people who love to fight. We love to come forward.”

Dogboe displayed more patience than in prior appearances when he out-pointed Puerto Rico’s Christopher Diaz (27-4, 17 KOs) in his last fight. Two judges, Don Trella (97-93) and Tim Cheatham (96-94), scored that 10-round fight for Dogboe, who won a majority decision because judge Eric Cheek scored Dogboe-Diaz a draw (95-95) on the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter undercard November 20 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.

“I believe that in the Christopher Diaz fight I took him in the later rounds,” Dogboe said. “There are a few things we are working on in the gym. Before they used to say I was too wild when I was fighting. But we’ve been working on being calm, staying calm and taking our time, not rushing when the opportunity is not there. Because before, it was more or less like, ‘If you hit me, I’m gonna come and hit you back,’ without really thinking about it too much. But now, it’s more or less like staying disciplined and being a more mature fighter.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.