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Ex-Nigerian boxing champ killed in UK
- Masterweb News Desk
( Wednesday, August 15, 2007 )
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James Oyebola, a 46-year-old former British heavyweight boxing champion and Nigerian by birth was shot in the face at point-blank range in the early hours of Monday, July 23. The incident took place at the Chateau 6 nightclub in Fulham, west London after Oyebola told three men smoking in the club to put out their cigarettes as demanded by the club management. Oyebola who stood 6ft 9ins (2.1m) tall, was a bouncer at another club and had gone to Chateau 6 nightclub to have a drink with the owner who was a good friend.
Smoking in pubs, clubs and bars had been banned in England since July 1, and the reason the three men were asked to put out their cigarettes or leave the club. Oyebola was not aggressive when he confronted the three men, but they saw it disrespectful and insulting. They made their way as if they were leaving the club and as they got to Oyebola, one pulled out a gun and started shooting at him. He was first hit in the face and legs after he fell down. The three men reportedly black fled the scene after the shooting, leaving behing the handgun, the murder weapon.
Oyebola was rushed to New Charing Cross Hospital were he was on life support in intensive care but was not expected to survive. He died Friday, July 27 after his life support machine was turned off as requested by his live-in long-term partner, Malin, 37. The couple had two children, Kristel, 13, and James jnr, 8.
Frank Maloney, Oyebola's ex-manager described him as: a gentle giant. Joanna Gressler, a worker at nearby restaurant was quoted as saying: "It's terrible. He is such a nice, friendly guy. He used to come in here a lot and was always smiling. He is very distinctive because he is so tall and big."
Oyebola was a bronze medalist at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in the super heavyweight category. He won the WBC international heavyweight title in 1993. He won 18 of his 23 professional bouts, 16 by knockout, 1 a draw, losing only four. He retired from boxing in 1996.
Oyebola's family, friends and associates are planning a charity foundation in his name to help young people. In a statement to the press, the Oyebola family said: "Big James was a fighter to the end and his legacy will live on in a charity foundation in his name to keep kids off the streets. Further details of this charity will be released in the near future."
Photo Above: James Oyebola celebrates victory after his British heavyweight WBC title fight at Cardiff
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