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‘I attempted suicide twice’

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Gbenga Oluokun (left) during one of his professional fights

• Confessions Of All African Games Gold Medalist, Gbenga Oluokun
Abuja 2003 All Africa Games gold medalist, Gbenga Oluokun has revealed how he almost took his life on two occasions due to depression.

The skillful boxer, who represented Nigeria at Athens 2004 Olympic Games in Greece after clinching the gold medal in the super heavyweight division at Abuja 2003 All African Games, made the disclosure in Ibadan, where he was unveiled by D’Colossus Boxing Promotions.

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The Ibadan-born boxer turned professional after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and won his first fight against Vlado Szabo in Germany.

He had a blissful boxing career for about eight years in Germany, raising a family. In 2019, he considered coming home to help Nigerian boxers, but he lost it all.

According to him, the loss was unexplainable. He became depressed, deteriorated mentally and fell back to the street.

“I started well and everything was going on smoothly, until suddenly everything turned sour. I won 16 fights as a professional boxer until I lost to Manuel Charr, a Syrian boxer, in 2009.

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“After a professional career of 19 wins with 13 knockouts, 14 defeats, I decided to come back home in 2019 to help Nigerian boxers at the grassroots and nurture them to international standard. I lost it all. A loss that led to depression, deteriorated mentally and I had to fall back to the street to survive,” Oluokun said.

In a bid to bounce back, Oluokun narrated how he sought with old friends to get a contract in Dubai as a trainer and a fighter, but unfortunately, the whole trial turned pitifully bitter when he suddenly collapsed on his arrival at Dubai International Airport and went into coma some days.

“After my bitter experience in Nigeria, with the help of some of my old friends, I got a contract in the United Arab Emirate as a trainer and boxer. Unfortunately, I collapsed on my arrival at the Fujairah International Airport, Dubai and I was in coma for a long time.

“When I finally recovered from the coma, I was brought back to Nigeria and I was in a hellish, traumatic, and a pitiable condition,” he added.

Speaking further on his grace to grass story, Oluokun, fondly called Bang-Bang by his admirers said, his life on the street to survive led to his attempt to kill himself out of frustration on two different occasions.

“I relocated from Lagos to Ibadan, where I believe many people will not identify me but when I cannot bear it, I attempted to kill myself with overdose of different drugs. But to my disappointment, I excreted all the drugs I took the previous night. Again, I tried it the second time and I got the same result. That was when I knew that God still had a mission for me to fulfill,” Oluokun said.

Chief Executive Officer of D’Colossus Boxing Promotions, Ezekiel Oshinmin, (left), Abuja 2003 All African Games gold medallist, Gbenga Oluokun and the Psychiatrist, Dr. Oladimeji Odewale

As fate will have it, Oluokun came in contact with an Ibadan based boxing promoter, Mr Ezekiel Oshinmi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of D’Colossus Boxing Promotions. He was on the street looking for boxers to recruit into his stable. After having intense discussions with the former champion, the promoter became touched by his predicament and decided to help him to get back to the boxing gym.

Oshinmin stated that Oluokun had returned to the boxing training for the past three months after he was worked upon by medical doctors who specialise in the treatment of mental, emotional or behavioral problems.”

Oluokun’s case is a potential booster to others who are suffering setbacks, and in different hopeless conditions.

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“With a winner mindset, Oluokun is looking forward to a comeback bout anytime soon,” the promoter said.

The boxer said he now better saying: “I believe I can do it more than before. I train twice a day now.”

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Mocdim Health and Fitness Center, Dr. Oladimeji Odewale, who handled Oluokun’s medication, said a lot of detoxification programs had been done for him. “It is flushing of his system to reduce the alcohol in his blood streams to the barest minimum.

“He still has strength and is more positive than ever before. A good boxer needs somebody to tell him how good he is, and I think I have been able to assure him. We placed him on treadmills and essentially worked on his stamina.”

Dr. Odewale, a Psychiatrist, and an ex-amateur boxer, continues: “We’ve changed his diet, which was the first priority, after flushing his system. We are monitoring him and keep encouraging him that he can do better. I can assure you that he is fitter to return to boxing ring and do better.”

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