Heavyweight Ike Ibeabuchi: The Top Secret Interview Files Part II. The Beginning
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
On April 7, 2016, at 9:43 A.M., less than six months after his conditional release by USICS in November 2015, former heavyweight contender Ike Ibeabuchi, hoping for a comeback, was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s office and other police agencies in Gilbert, Arizona. Ibeabuchi, if he could give his side of the story, would have revealed he was scheduled to fly to Las Vegas 48 hours later, where he would make his first public appearance on television since defeating David Tua in 1999, ringside at the Pacquiao versus Bradley fight card.
Someone or some force, or so it may have appeared to Ibeabuchi, had acted to prevent him from his hope of a comeback in the professional boxing ring. When 2018 arrives, four years will have passed since Ike’s prison sentence ended, and he will have been out of the ring for 19 years. Given the passage of time, the possibility of Ike making any sort of comeback has become more remote, perhaps ridiculous to anyone besides Ike. However, if Ibeabuchi could have been signed immediately in 2014, he might have had a slim chance of a comeback. Unfortunately, USIC had an immigration hold on Ibeabuchi when his original Nevada prison sentence ended. Ibeabuchi would eventually be released on lifetime probation, receive a green card, and apply for United States citizenship.
In the telephone interviews between Brizel and Ibeabuchi, Ike never stated he required any sort of treatment program as a condition of his release. Based on this reporter’s series of comprehensive interviews with Ibeabuchi, either Ibeabuchi, who was in active contact with his probation officer, knew nothing of the requirement, or he did not share the information. Whatever the case, Ibeabuchi was only concerned with his living conditions, planned comeback, regaining control of his financial assets being held by a power of attorney sent up by his late mother, and clearing his name of a wrongful conviction for a crime Ibeabuchi stated never occurred as was portrayed in court. A promoter and trainers had been lined up for Ibeabuchi at his request. Manny Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz had been in touch with Ibeabuchi as well. On April 7, 2016, at 4:30 P.M., Ike Ibeabuchi was booked into the Maricopa County Jail and ordered held on $3500 bail. Ibeabuchi appeared in Maricopa County Supreme Court on April 16, 2016, in Phoenix, Arizona, to address an INS hold, and failure to address an outstanding warrant. Since disappearing into the USIC and Arizona penal systems, Ibeabuchi’s whereabouts in incarceration have been unknown.
Robert Brizel: “Ibeabuchi (as he prefers to be called), what purpose will these interviews serve?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “I seek to clear my name.”
Robert Brizel: “What year were you locked up?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “From 2007 to 2014, I was locked up at Ely State Prison in Nevada, until I was released on probation. Then immigration held me elsewhere. From 2006 to 2007, I was held at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. From 2003 to 2006, I was in the Nevada State Prison in Lovelock. From 1999 to 2003, I was held at High Desert State Prison.”
Robert Brizel: “What happened in the Supreme Court of Nevada in 2007?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “The Supreme Court of Nevada overturned my conviction in Habeas Corpus appeal, and remanded it to the lower courts-to effect my reversal and overturn.”
Robert Brizel: “Did you expect you would immediately be released then?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “Yes. I expected to be released immediately.”
Robert Brizel: “At that point, did you think you could resume your heavyweight boxing career?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “Yes, because I trained in prison very effectively, two times a day, from 2003 to 2007.”
Robert Brizel: “Were you moved in 2007?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “My release was neglected in 2007. I was delayed. I had to stop my training, due to the new environment I was placed in. (After my sentence reversal) I was moved to administrative segregation. I (fully) expected to be (unconditionally) released, but I was not released. They did not (release me). I was abandoned (in the Nevada State penal system.”
Robert Brizel: “What happened next? Where did you wind up?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “After the judgment (in my favor) in the Nevada State Supreme Court, was received and abandoned, from 2007 to 2014, I was held in Ely State Maximum Security Prison in administrative segregation.”
Robert Brizel: “Were you well treated at this point or not?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “(from a professional standpoint) I was allowed to train in Lovelock, High Desert and Carson City (Nevada State Prisons). As long as I was considered to train in a training regimen, it was considered fair. I was not allowed to train in Ely.”
Robert Brizel: “How long have you been out now? (released as a free man)”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “I am training daily at 24 hour LA Fitness in Gilbert, Arizona.”
Robert Brizel: “Do they have a boxing ring and / or heavy bags there?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “Yes. They have.”
Robert Brizel: “How much do you weigh now, Ike?”
Ike Ibeabuchi: “252 pounds. My condition is I am only training to be in good spirits. I’m waiting to restore myself from the abuse I have suffered (related to my incarceration). I am not training for any boxing engagements (yet). I am training to keep myself well. I go to the gym seven days a week to maintain (my) physical fitness (for right now).”
Part II: What happened in the Nevada State Court in 2007 to Ikemefula Charles Ibeabuchi? ‘The President’, boxing’s colorful heavyweight, continues his story as only he can tell it, is his own words, and much much more.