2003 All-Africa Games gold medalist, Gbenga Oluokun has revealed that he almost took his own life during the worst state of his depression, but said he is back on his feet again.
The skillful boxer, who represented Nigeria in the 2004 Summer Olympic after clinching the gold medal in the super heavyweight division in the 2003 All-Africa Games held in Abuja, said this in Ibadan during an unveiling event held for him by D’Colossus Boxing Promotions.
The Ibadan-born boxer started well after the Olympic Games by turning professional and winning his first fight against Vlado Szabo in Germany.
He had a blissful boxing career for about 8 years in Germany doing well and raising a family, until 2019 that he considered coming home to help Nigerian boxing to raise grassroots boxers, before he lost it all. A loss he claimed 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 my fight 16 as a professional boxer until I lost to Syrian boxer, Manuel Charr in 2009. “After a professional career of 19 wins with 13 knockouts, 14 losses, I decided to come back home in 2019 to help Nigerian boxing and raise grassroots boxers 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 for about 115 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 and unfortunately, I collapsed on my arrival at the Fujairah International Airport, Dubai and I was in coma for over 3 months.
“Having 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 many admirers said, his life on the street to survive led to his attempt to kill himself out of frustration on two different occasions.
“After my recovery from coma I had to relocate to Ibadan from Lagos where I believe many people will not identify me but when I could not bear it, I attempted to kill myself with over dose 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.
On his comeback bid, as fate will have it, Oluokun came in contact with an Ibadan based boxing promoter, Mr Ezekiel Oshinmi the CEO of D’Colossus Boxing Promotions, was on the street looking for boxers to recruit into his stable. After having intense discussions with the embattled former champion, the promoter became touched by his predicament and decided to help him find his footing and get him back to the boxing gym.
“Serena Williams said “I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall” said Oshinmin while reacting on the fast recovery rate of Gbenga Oluokun saying “he has returned to the boxing training for the past 3 months after having a helping hand on his health with medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of mental, emotional, or behavioral problems”.
Finding motivation from Serena Williams’ quote and Tyson Fury’s comeback, Gbenga Oluokun is ready to come back to the ring, and his case is a potential booster to other people around the world that are suffering setbacks and those in different hopeless conditions.
“With a winner mindset, Gbenga “Bang bang” Oluokun is looking forward to a comeback bout anytime soon”, said Oshinmin, the promoter. I’m now better and I believe I can do it more than before because I trained twice a day now.
Dr. Oladimeji Odewale, the CEO of Mocdim health and fitness center, who handled his medication, said a lot of detoxification programs had been done for him, and that is flushing of his system to reduce the alcohol in his blood streams to the barest minimum. “He’s 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.
“We’ve changed his diet which was the first priority, after flushing his system as you can see we’re all over him, monitoring him and encouraging him that he can do better and I can assure you that he’s fitter to return into boxing ring and do better”, said Dr. Odewale, the Psychiatrist who claimed was once an amateur boxer.