Heavyweight Ike Ibeabuchi: The Top Secret Interview Files Part I. Introduction

By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent


In the Spring of 2016, Ike Ibeabuchi was released unconditionally from a Nevada State prison.  Where was he? Ibeabuchi’s Nigerian relatives contacted Real Combat Media sports reporter Robert Brizel on Facebook to try to find out where Ike was after he was released from the Nevada State prison system. With some diligent detective work, Ibeabuchi was located in the custody of United State Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a holding situation similar to junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo. Ike would eventually be rereleased by ICE, and went to live with an aunt in Gilbert, Arizona.


Over the course of several months, Ibeabuchi spoke with Brizel about the possibility of hooking up with a trainer, his advisement, his living situation, his inability to work, his legal status and paperwork, his court appeal of his Nevada conviction and sentence (overturned twice but not removed from his record or granted retrial), his probationary status and travel conditions, and his involvement with the later Cedric Kushner and missing funds.


Lacking internet access, Ibeabuchi requested Brizel send him his boxing articles on an ongoing basis. One year later, many of Brizel’s envelopes sent to Ike were returned by the U.S. Postal Service. Ike expressed an interest in immediately fighting heavyweight Andy Ruiz. Despite having been out of the ring since March 20, 1999, when he stopped future world heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, Ibeabuchi sounded motivated and believed he could beat Ruiz. No promoter approached Ibeabuchi, who remained in limbo in Arizona without a green card. After filing paperwork, Ibeabuchi eventually did get his green card, then applied for United States citizenship. Ibeabuchi still needed special permission to travel, where and with dates, and he needed it in writing, for both training and pro fights. It now appears Ibeabuchi remains on lifetime probation in Arizona, though at the time of Brizel’s conversations with Ibeabuchi, Ike did not make this legal condition completely clear. The conditions of why this remains so (as Ibeabuchi completed his prison sentence) remain unclear.


Ibeabuchi earned several college degrees with honors while incarcerated, and also became a paralegal. His intense legal studies enable him to file timely and relevant appeals of his case. Of equal concern to Ibeabuchi was the millions of dollars he earned in the ring during his brief 20-0 boxing career. According to Ike, his bank accounts and investments were deposited in both his name and the late Cedric Kushner together. Ike’s later mother got a Ike to sign over Power of Attorney to a lawyer, who handled the funds for a fee. According to Ike, this prevented Kushner from access to Ike’s money.


When Ike gained his freedom, the lawyer refused to release Ike’s money or control of it, owing to the fact a sale had transferred Ike’s funds and investments from one bank to another. The new bank refused to pay Ike interest he was entitled to, which he had received on a regular basis from the original bank. The lawyer sued the new bank, and claimed he could now relinquish control of Ike’s money until the court case was resolved.  According to Ike, he then sued the lawyer.


Ike stated he was working out at a local gym in Gilbert, Arizona. Ike was anxious to clear his name, get his money back, and resume his boxing career.  Speaking with a highly educated sounding British accent, Ike appeared to be more concerned about a niece supposed to be going to his aunt’s to live who was a minor. Ibeabuchi reasoned if this occurred, he would have nowhere to live as this would violate the terms of his probation.


Ibeabuchi was ultimately rearrested and sent back to prison for violating the terms of his release. As a non-citizen, additional conditions plagued Ike, and he was working hard to remove them. Ike was rearrested for failing to complete a required treatment program. This was never mentioned in his conversations with this reporter, to the extent this reporter still wonders if Ibeabuchi even was aware of the requirement. With Ibeabuchi’s incarceration location in the Arizona ICE or Arizona State prison system, the contents of his interviews with this reporter will now opened in a lengthy series of articles on Real Combat Media.


Ibeabuchi was very anxious to have his story publicized, and to tell his life as was important to him, from mostly a strict legal viewpoint. Ibeabuchi also heard from this reporter first that his late mother had set up a website to call attention and raise money for Ike’s cause, but she died before Ike was released, after pursuing her son’s cause for over a decade. Unfortunately, the website was torn down before Ibeabuchi had a chance to read its contests, and his mother’s impassioned plea to help her son.


As the series of telephone interviews began, Ibeabuchi stated his biggest mistake was not going to trail in Nevada. He did not find out until after he pled guilty that the Nevada State’s star witness, his so-called victim, was a hooker and had been subsequently arrested and convicted of prostitution. Ibeabuchi would never have gone to jail if that fact had come out, and he had gone to trial. This was all according to Ike, who also reasoned certain individuals of the Las Vegas boxing scene were partially responsible for this, as they wanted to bury his boxing career to protect their investments in other heavyweight fighters they had signed. In the month of August 2017, this reporter’s locked five tier file cabinet will be opened, and the secret interview file of Ike Ibeabuchi, confidential writings sealed for 18 months, will be opened. Part of the reason for not coming forward with this information immediately was because there seemed to be some confusion regarding Ike’s precise legal and immigration status. Also, the details of Ike’s conviction and appeal were deeply personal, and this reporter had a concern at the time if the information was released, it could impact on Ibeabuchi’s desire to make a comeback in the heavyweight division. However, Ike wanted the interviews published.

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Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert Brizel - Head Boxing Correspondent
Robert is the Head Boxing Correspondent for Real Combat Media Boxing since 2013. Robert is also a photographer and ringside reporter for the RCM Tri State region which includes NJ, NY and PA. Robert conducts exclusive interviews, provides historical boxing articles and provides editorial ringside coverage of major boxing events. You can contact or follow Robert on Facebook and by email at robertbrizel@realcombatmedia.com.