POWER MIKE

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Michael Okpara also known as “Power Mike” was a household name in the world of wrestling.

He was born on the 8th of August, 1939 to Echeobi and Janet Okpala at Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, He was the first born in a family of three.

He started building his athletic career during his primary school days at the Anglican Primary School, Adazi-Enu, a neighbouring town to Neni by being active in sporting events. He was so interested in boxing that he became an amateur boxer.

After his primary school in 1952, he left his village for Onitsha, in order to learn how to organise and run a trade business.

At Onitsha, he joined the Dick Tiger Boxing Club as a middle weight amateur boxer. It was here that Dick Ihetu Tiger became his role model . On leaving Onitsha, he left for Kano to specialize in the business of buying and selling tyres. During an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic, he realized his dream.

This realization sparked his rebirth and he acquired a new name, “Power Mike”.

While in Kano, he started a superman show business which gave him fame locally. His imaginative exhibitions in Kano virtually cast a spell on people from various social backgrounds because they were yearning to see him perform. Showmanship took him around the world in the mid-50s. His act included such using his bare hands to bend a six inch nail, lifting four heavy men with ease, engaging several men in a game of tug-of-war, using his bare hands to break a coconut and so on.

A wrestling promoter saw him performing as a superman in Greece and took interest in him. He was trained by Kalie Abdulkalie of Lebanon.

He left greece and went to britain to compete, and thus he then started his career as a professional wrestler.

He came back to Africa in 1970, and in the same year, he defeated Gambia’s Massambula to become the African heavyweight wrestling champion and titleholder.

He defeated Ali Baba of Lebanon, Johnny Kwango, Power Jack, Joseph Kovacs, Judd Harris, John Tiger of Canada and a host of other notable worldwide superstars.

He died on 11th March 2004 at National Hospital, Abuja after a protracted illness.

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