After 20 years in and out of the prison system, Ike Ibeabuchi who was one of the hottest prospects in heavyweight boxing before several run-ins with the law in the United States of America, has once again regained freedom.
Born in Nigeria, Ibeabuchi who first migrated to the United States of America at the age of 19 in 1993 had several run-ins with the law before he was arrested in Las Vegas over alleged sexual assault attempt on a 21-year-old stripper.
After being accused of rape, he was initially released and placed under house arrest before another case of alleged sexual assault from eight months earlier at another hotel was opened against him.
He was later sentenced to two to 10 years for battery with intent to commit a crime and another three to 20 years for attempted sexual assault, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
After serving those sentences, he was released in 2014 from Nevada prison but was arrested again in 2016 and held at the Arizona prison because of an old warrant he claimed he wasn’t aware of.
Although released, he is however still detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who are still trying to confirm his green card and citizenship status.
Before his trouble with the law, Ibeabuchi had a quick and impressive rise in heavyweight boxing after he settled in Dallas, Texas with his mother Patricia who died of a heart attack in 2014.
Less than two years after arriving in the United States, he made his professional debut in October 1994 and quickly rose through the ranks with 16 straight wins.
He made a big jump and faced David Tua for a WBC International Heavyweight title fight in June 1997.
In the fight against the highly-rated Tua who was tipped to be the next Mike Tyson, Ibeabuchi stunned the boxing world with a win via unanimous 12-round decision. The fight is also well-remembered for the combativeness as both fighters threw punches and neither also took a backward step all night.
Ibeabuchi and Tua set a CompuStat heavyweight division record with 1,730 punches thrown. Ike also set the individual CompuStat record by throwing 975 punches and averaging 81 per round. The heavyweight average is around 50.
He established himself as a top contender for the world heavyweight title with that win but shortly after, the problems started.
With suspicion around his mental health, Ibeabuchi had got into trouble after he abducted the 15-year-old son of his former girlfriend and injured him while overspeeding and got sentenced for three months.
Despite some erratic behaviour he continued to show brilliance in the win after his release before his win against Chris Byrd in March 1999, that was his 20th straight victory. The fight against Byrd was his last before his 1999 arrest.
Amidst his troubles with the law, he was also diagnosed with bi-polar disorder which explained some of his erratic behaviour.
Ibeabuchi however and people around him have maintained that he remains innocent of all the crimes he was sentenced for with several claims that he was a victim of a conspiracy of a boxing cabal and that some powerful forces do not want him in America.
While in prison, the now 47-year-old earned three associate degrees and certificates.