Life and times of one of Nigeria’s first World Heavyweight wrestling champion
The first born of three children, young Michael began schooling at an Anglican primary school at Adazi-Enu, where he first developed an interest in sports and became an amateur boxer.
Michael Okpala more famously known as “Power Mike”, will forever remain a benchmark in African fitness and endurance.
Following the completion of his primary school education, which in those days was a fairly impressive level of education, in 1952 Michael left Neni and moved to Onitsha, where he joined the Dick Tiger Boxing Club as an amatuer middleweight boxer developing a high influence form Richard Ihetu (more famously known as “Dick Tiger”
Michael later moved to Kano, where he dabbled with numerous occupations.
His showmanship took him to various corners of the world, where he caught the imagination and awe of international audiences by performing superhuman feats such as bending large nails, lifting the weight of multiple men and automobiles, and breaking coconuts, all with his bare hands.
He entered Europe in 1967, with the company of a close friend by the name Engr. Onyeso, the Igwe of Agukwu-Nri. After performing in Sweden, he moved to Greece, where he met Kalie Abdulkalie, a Lebanese coach, who trained him in wrestling.
Aside being a wrestling legend , he was also a promoter of carving out his own Power Mike International Promotions were he brought foreign wrestlers like Mil Mascaras, Dick the ‘Bulldog Brower’, Buddy Rose, Michael Hayes, Mighty Igor, The Mongols, Carlos Colon, Chris Adams, Thunderbolt Williams and so on to the shores of Nigeria. He retired from active wrestling in 1976 and then focused on international promotions.
Michael Okpala died on 11 March 2004 at the National Hospital, Abuja after a protracted illness