James Oyebola – R.I.P

A former British heavyweight boxer who was shot when he asked customers at a club to stop smoking has died July 27th 2007

James Oyebola, 47, was shot in the head and leg in a courtyard at the back of a night club in Fulham Road, south-west London.

Following a six week trial, my brother’s killer was found guilty of murder, at the Old Bailey on Wednesday 8th October 2008. The following day, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 28 years.

As reported, it was quite simply a senseless killing – my brother asked some young men not to smoke – following the smoking ban recently introduced by the U.K government early that same July 07.

I would like to personally express my gratitude to the investigating Police Officers from Trident, TSS Security, the British Boxing Board of Control, the prosecuting barrister and his team, friends and family members, the Nigerian High Commission based in central London and in particular my brother’s partner and his three children for their continued support and for remaining strong and united during what had been a very difficult period in our lives.

James left behind a long term partner, two daughters, a son and two younger brothers. James Oyebola, who was born in Nigeria, won 18 of his 23 fights, and was a bronze medallist at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and won the British heavyweight title in 1994. He also won the WBC international heavyweight title in 1993 and retired from boxing in 1996.

He was known to family and friends as the “gentle giant”. As Lord John Bird said in a newspaper article at that time, “James was a true hero. It wasn’t his job to help young people off the streets and into the gym, but he did it. And it wasn’t his job to ask people to obey the law, but he did it and died for his civic duty. His death is a loss to his family and a loss to our nation”

This page is dedicated to not only James but all those who have lost their lives to gun or knife crime.

Potential Youth Mentoring is dedicated to tackling these issues and believe that before we ask young people to understand us; we must first understand them…! Only then can we help support and challenge their behaviour.

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