Ben Lion Heart 

This biography contains the following:
a. Background
b. Career
c. Real Name
d. Town, State & Country 
e. Age
f. Networth
g. Marital Status
h. Associates
i. Death

There's no doubt that the origin of wrestling in Nigeria can be traced back to traditional forms of wrestling practiced by various ethnic groups across the country. These traditional wrestling forms subsequently metamorphosed into more modern forms of wrestling as the sport clenched popularity.

Historically, professional wrestling became popular in Nigeria as a competitive Olympic around early 1980s after the establishment of the wrestling federation. Still, it has long existed as a local sport in the country.

Some pioneer Professional wrestlers in Nigeria are as Michael Okpala a.k.a Power Mike, the Late Michael Bamidele, Maman Zaria, Ben Lion Heart, Power Uti, Iron Saigon Of Nigeria and handful of others projected the country into the limelight in World Wrestling Community recognized in the world wrestling via their ceaseless rare skills, efforts and abilities.

Furthermore, Hardcore Wrestling Academy was later introduced in Nigeria to operate under the federation. It was formed in Onitsha, Anambra state, to bring up able-bodied youths interested in the game of wrestling who has the potentials to represent the country in the future.

The story of Ben Lion Heart began on the 24th December 1942, when he was born as the first child in a family of five children to NZE & LOLO OKOYE IGWEBUIKE of Udo village, Akpo in Aguata Local Govt Area of Anambra state.

a. Education:
Benneth attended St. paul's catholic school (Now Akpo Central School) from 1953 to 1960 where he obtained his first school leaving certificate. While in school he was one of the most brilliant student of his time, and was also noted for his very active involvement in sports such as football and athletics.

Even though benneth lost his mother at a very tender of eleven, he was uncharacteristically of a boy at such age to take care of his younger ones. He made sure that his immediate younger brother, now a medical practitioner, who was a toddler when he was in junior class accompanied him to school. He also took care of his other siblings, thereby filling the lucuna creating by the death of his mother. This early hardship impose upon him by fate was to be of immense value to him in later part of his life as it imbued with an unimaginable survival skills that saw him through the fratricidal Nigerian Biafran Civil War and even beyond his chosen professional career in wrestling.

b. Apprenticeship/Business Journey:
At the end of his Primary education Benneth opted for business and served late FIDELIS UMEOPRINNAKA (Alias :Kwa-aji Kwa) a rich trader as at that time, before setting up his own business in Lagos. This was before the commencement of the civil war and by this time he was already a well established timber merchant. When the war eventually broke out In 1967, he like every true igbo Youth returned home to defend his fathers land, He Joined BIAFRAN ORGANIZATION OF FREEDOM FIGHTERS (BOFF) and as a result of his intimidating personality and fearlessness he was revered and respected by both commissioned and non-commissioned officers where ever he went.

At the end of the war Benneth married former Miss Jane Ezeaka (Now Mrs. Jane Okoye) before returning to Lagos to re-establish his timber business. While there, he made it a priority to identify with his towns people. In recognition of his efforts at assembling Akpo people residing in Lagos under one umbrella, he was elected the first executive chairman of Akpo Development Association (A.D.A) Lagos branch, about two years after the civil war and under his leadership a solid foundation of his branch was laid in Lagos.

But when Benneth was struggling for the welfare of his people, his business was dwindling due to lack of funds all the Capital required to run it had gone with the war and there was no one to offer assistance. As time went by, life become very unbearable for him and members of his family.

c. Wrestling Journey:
On realizing that he had a lot of Physical strength he decided to try his hands on weight lifting, and it was at this stage that he met Chief Mike Okpala A.K.A. "Power Mike" from whom he drew inspiration to become a wrestler. As luck would have it a good Samaritan in the person of Chief J.S. Abajue assisted him to procure travelling documents with which he traveled to Greece (ITALY) to learn the art of wrestling and from there he traveled to other countries, including Great Britain and Germany.

After his training he returned to his country as a professional wrestler. On arrival he introduced himself to the nation as one of the best wrestlers in the world and adopted the name "BEN LION HEART OF AFRICA" His first fight caused a big sensation because people were so thrilled by his wonderfully performance and display of raw strength that he pulled large fellowship of supporters in his subsequent fights. He was specialized in what was described as the "Greek-Roman" style with this he was able to defeat many famous wrestlers, such as John Kwango, Silva man etc. His achievement in his new found love "wrestling" bore eloquent testimony to his charisma, perseverance determination and fearlessness even in the face of all odds.

On the 22nd of January 1978 he won the national heavy weight title, and on 30th march 1978 he beat Honey Boy Zimba of Sierra Leone to win the African heavy weight title. His effort were crowned on the 16th day of December 1978 when he defeated Count Bertilli of Great Britain to become the "Common Wealth Heavy Weight Wrestling Champion".

His selfless nature and desire to see to the Welfare Growth and Development of others were manifested in 1985 when he single handedly and with the unalloyed support of the then Military Governor of the Old Anambra State "Navy Captain Alison Madueke (as he then was) organised the championship match in defense of his common wealth title, the proceeds of which were specifically meant for the coffers of "Anambra State Stadium Appeal Fund" for which there was a strongly worded letter of commendation from the Governor. He was also a source of inspiration as well as the Patron of "Akpo Lion babes football Club of Lagos" which purpose was to develop and bring to limelight the latent football artistry among indigenous youths. Being a man that was filled with the zeal to serve in whatever capacity towards ensuring a functional society, he was not found wanting even in his professional association. He was at various times Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary General of Nigerian Professional Wrestlers Association (N.P.W.A.) and a member of Nigerian Wrestling Board of Control.

Following professional controversy, he retired from active wrestling in the late 1985, But as result of his insatiable love for sports, he engaged in the importation and sales of sports equipment till the time his ill health began to manifest in the year 1992.

In the month of march 1997 he was rushed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) by his wife & daughter who did every thing humanly possible to help him regain his health. The doctors after diagnosing his heath problem as "DIABETICS" discharged him after one month of intensive treatment , But Ben never regained his old self.

On the 15th August 1998 he was yet again admitted in the same hospital where he gave up the ghost ten days later. It is pertinent to mention that despite his busy schedule and engagement. Ben Lion Heart still found time for development of his home town Akpo. In 1988 he was appointed Chairman Akpo Rural Electrification Project (A.R.E.P.) and through his influence the project was commissioned by the Anambra State Government. He was also an active foundation member of Njikoka Age Grade, Akpo Development Association (A.D.A) and Udo Charity Movement. He was always participating in Community Development and Social Activities. He also donated various sums of money to support individuals and groups.

Real Name:
Benneth Afulueke Okoye (Also Known As Ben Lion Heart).

Town, State & Country:
Udo village, Akpo Town in Aguata Local Govt. Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.

Born 24th December 1942, Died 1997.

Not Estimated 

Marital Status:
Miss Jane Ezeaka (Now Mrs. Jane Okoye) 

Michael Okpala (Power Mike), Chief J.S. Abajue, Navy Captain Alison Madueke, host of others especially wrestlers.

Some Of His Photos: