Power Mike 

Power Mike was born as Michael Okpala on the 8th of August 1939 to Mazi Echeobi and Janet Okpala at Neni, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, Nigeria. He was the first born of a family of three. He attended Anglican Primary School in Adazi Enu, a town close to Neni.

While attending the Primary, he achieved fame due to his extraordinary love for athletics and became an amateur boxer.

After finishing primary school in 1952, he left his village Amakwa-Eziaja, Neni for Onitsha, in order to learn how to organise and run a trade business better known as "Boy-boy". 

At Onitsha, he joined the Dick Tiger Boxing Club as a middle weight amateur boxer. It was there 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

He from there started learning motor mechanic. As an apprenticeship, he realized his dream after lifting huge trailer tyres always. 

This realization sparked his rebirth and he acquired a new name, Power Mike embracing his career officially.

Died 11th March 2004, at the National Hospital, Abuja after a protracted cardiac related illness. Power Mike retired early as a professional wrestler in 1976 with a fight record of 125 without recording a single defeat. 

Article Expansion:
Mike Okpala, who was known for his rare display of strength, got his nickname “Power Mike”, during his apprentice days as a motor mechanic and tyreseller in Kano. In the workshop, it was easy for him to lift tyres and engines which six other apprentices merged together could not lift. 

His co-apprentices, even their master and other people were so awed that they removed his surname, Okpala and added “power” to Mike, and that was how he earned the sobriquet “Power Mike”.

At the workshop, they used to organise weight-lifting and muscle flexing competitions and Power Mike usually came tops. This made his colleagues and others to advise him to go into the “Superman” show business, because they believed he had supernatural powers.

His colleagues in the workshop encouraged him to put up power shows and exhibitions in Kano and environs. His displays were unbelievable at those shows which made many to suspect that there was a mystical link to his strength.

Power Mike exhibiting his supernatural strength 

With these power shows, his fame spread and he started touring beyond Kano to other parts of Nigeria, Africa and Europe. In 1964, he sold his motorcycle to raise enough money to foot the bill for his trip to Ghana, which turned out to be very successful. 

The Ghana shows motivated him to make more tours, for he virtually transversed the continent and his series of achievements earned him names such as “Champions of champions”, “Black Hercules” and “Samson of Africa”.

In 1967, this “Samson of Africa” embarked on a tour of Europe where he performed in various cities like Palmas Barcelona, Madrid, Merseiles, London, Greece, Germany, Yugoslavia and Sweden.

Fortunately, his tour of Greece provided another frontier for the “Black Hercules” as he jettisoned superman shows for wrestling in 1969.

It was while in Greece that a wrestling promoter amazed by his display of raw strength during a show suggested that he became a wrestler, to which he agreed. Because Mike Okpala lacked the initial training required of a wrestler, the promoter arranged for his tutelage and before long, 

he was touring Greece, defeating great wrestlers in that country including the dreaded and renowned Kalpolus. To gain more popularity in the sport, he returned to Britain, but he was not allowed to fight the British champion because the promoters felt he needed more fights to measure up and qualify to fight the champion.

In defiance, he relocated to Liverpool and ran over the regional champion, Blackfoot.  In the famous Madison Square garden, USA, he clinched the Mr Universe title. This amazon of victory, in 1970, moved over to Gambia where he defeated Masambula to become the African heavyweight champion. He later toured East Africa.

In Zambia, he fought and defeated the likes of Josef Kovacs, Albert Rens and Fred Coates. His fight with Kovacs made him more popular. Kovacs, the European heavyweight champion weighed 250lbs against Power mike’s 185lbs. The match was so much celebrated with a lot of media hype and propaganda.

In the pre-match press briefing held at Kitwe Hotel, Kovacs said, “I read press reports in overseas papers that Power Mike was making noise in Zambia and I have dropped in to shut him up once and for all. 

I challenge him to meet me anywhere, anytime and under any condition. My intention is to remove ‘Power’ from his name so that he will remain just Mike. Reacting, Power Mike said, “I feel that Kovacs is just making noise. “He may be European but let him not forget that Africa has its own champions. I want to show him that his European kingdom does not extend to Africa”. The referee Fred Coates disqualified Power Mike in the fifth round.

From Zambia, Power Mike moved on to Uganda where he made more exploits in wrestling. His first fight was against Derek Withington whom he defeated in the fourth round before a 10,000 capacity crowd. 

He also eliminated Greek hero, Assimaks. Then came the historic world heavyweight title fight against another wrestling legend, Ali Baba at the Nakivubo Stadium in 1973. Power Mike over-whelmed the Lebanese and left him lying helplessly on the canvas without beating the 10 count.
The referee, Chaya stopped the fight and the Ugandan acting Minister of Culture and Community Development, Henry Kyemba decorated Power Mike with the golden belt. He thus became the new world heavyweight champion.

Back home, Mike Okpala, fought the likes of Canadian john Tiger, Judd Harris, Lee Sharon of Britain, London based Jonny Kwango and Power Jack of New Zealand

Michael Okpala and His Golden belt:

In his fight against London based Jonny Kwango, Power Mike punished the wrestler to the extent that he voluntarily called for the end of the bout; to the admiration of Power Mike’s fans, that even a musician of repute, also a legend in the music industry, “77”, eulogized him for his superlative performances against Jonny Kwango during the fight in one of his sibilating tracks.

Then came the return match between him and Ali Baba on December 19, 1975. The fierce ‘battle’ which was held before more than 10,000 spectators at the National Stadium, Surulele, Lagos, Nigeria, ended in a draw when both wrestlers collided, fell on the canvass and could not stand up before the count of 10. 

Power Mike therefore retained his golden belt as the world heavyweight wrestling champion. He held this title till 1976 when he retired from wrestling after going through 125 fights without losing any.

Upon his retirement from active and competitive wrestling, the late Mike Okpala did all within his reach to contribute his own quota in sports development. To this end, he established the Power Mike Sports Centres at Onitsha, his home state and at the Federal Capital, Abuja, through which he promoted sports in the country. 

Some of his last known major engagements were his support for both the Enyimba Football Club of Aba, which eventually won the CAF championship cup in December 2003, and the national team, the Super Eagles during the nation’s cup tournament in Tunisia in January, 2004. And in politics, he was involved in seeing that peace returned to Anambra State when he waded into the crises as a neutral person and as a member of the National Peace Committee, a body made up of concerned non-partisan elders from the state.

Come to think of it, the late Okpala started his journey to fame in the early 60’s, died on March 10, 2004 and years after, he is still fresh in the minds of people, even those yet unborn will come to know the name, Chief Mike Okpala (aka Power Mike) and his myth.

List of Top Professional Wrestlers Defeated by Professional Wrestler Extraordinaire - Power Mike.

Gambia's Massambula (Witch Doctor): 
1. In 1970 he defeated Gambia's Massambula to become the African heavy weight wrestling champion and titleholder. Gambia's Massambula (a.k.a Africa's Witch Doctor), born 1925, died of diabetes in March 2007, aged 82, started his wrestling career 1952 and ended his wrestling career 19th February 1975 after ring-reigning for 23 years amassing titles. 

Total Battles: 134 (Majority taking place in UK)
Total Win: 97
Total Loss: 21 (Power Mike twice)
Total Draw: 9
Total "No Contest": 7

      Photos of Gambia's Massambula 

Ali Baba of Lebanon 
2. He wrestled with Ali Baba of Lebanon in 1973 and defeated him in a "Bloody Final Battle". Arteen Ekizian, born September 28th, 1901 and died November 16th, 1981 in San Luis Obispo, California, U.S, aged 80 years. He was better known by the ring name as Ali Baba.

He was said to be married to Alice Elizabeth Bagdoian. They had three children together. Ekizian (Ali Baba) was a devouted Christian.

He's an Armenian American professional wrestler and World Heavyweight Champion who was active in the early twentieth century. 

       Photos of Ali Baba of Lebanon 

3. He defeated Johnny Kwango (a.k.a "My Head Too Too Sharp") a slogan which Kwango has been known for. John Lagey, born April 20th, 1920 and died 19th January 1994 in Peckham, London, England, aged 73 years, better known by his ring name as Johnny Kwango, was an English professional wrestler.

However, Power Mike punished Johnny Kwango to the extent that he voluntarily called for the end of the fight; to the admiration of Power Mike’s fans, that even a musician of repute, also a legend in the music industry, “77”, praised him for his superlative performances against Jonny Kwango during the fight

Johnny Kwango was active in wrestling from late 1940s to the 1980s, and was popular for his battle style of head-butt moves. 

He became fame in Britain through televised matches on ITV, but also was popular in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He also worked as a referee during the 1980s. 

Power Jack of New Zealand 
4. Power Mike defeated Dare devil Power Jack of New Zealand in a "Power Tussle" Ring Battle.

Joseph Kovacs 
5. Joseph Kovacs (József Kovács) was also a victim of Power Mike seemingly metal body which made Joseph Kovacs nearly breed to death. József Kovács born 1929 and died 1991 of heart failure in Hamburg, Germany, aged 62) was a Hungarian wrestler. He competed in two events at the 1952 Summer Olympics

Judd Harris 
6. Judd Harris, a British Professional Wrestler was as well as defeated by Power Mike.

John Tiger
7. John Tiger of Canada suffered devastating blow in the hands of Power Mike.

8. Greece dreaded and renowned Kalpolus was defeated.

Albert Rens & Fred Coates 
9. In Zambia, he battled and defeated  Albert Rens and Fred Coates including Josef Kovacs.

10. He also eliminated Greek hero, Assimaks.

Derek Washington 
11. Derek Withington was defeated in the fourth round before a 10,000 capacity crowd. 

Power Mike Internatonal Promotions brought to our shores in Nigeria foreign wrestlers like:
a. Mil Mascaras 
b. Dick the 'Bulldog Brower
c. Buddy Rose
d. Michael Hayes
e. Mighty Igor
f. The Mongols
g. Carlos Colon
h. Chris Adams
i. Thunderbolt Williams and so on.

Some notable Nigerian Professional Wrestlers who rose to fame during the active days of Power Mike are 

a. Honey Boy Zimba
b. Ben Lion Heart (Ben Okoye)
c. Power Uti of Nigeria
d. Iron Saigon of Nigeria