Book Review: President of Pandemonium: The Mad World of Ike Ibeabuchi

Book Review: President of Pandemonium: The Mad World of Ike Ibeabuchi

By Chris Akers                

Ike Ibeabuchi is one of modern boxing’s what ifs. A six foot two muscular heavyweight who was trained by former world welterweight champion Curtis Cokes, Ibeabuchi was tipped to be the next big fighter from Africa, and is best known for his fights with David Tua (which broke records for punch output in a heavyweight contest) and Chris Byrd.

Yet like far too many fighters with great potential, ‘The President’s’ talents were left unfulfilled. Trouble with the law including abduction and sexual assault, not only slowed his progress, but prematurely ended his career and left him incarcerated, sentenced to prison for the numerous crimes he committed. There are also people whose lives were not the same again after the acts he committed, including the 15 year old son of his ex-girlfriend, who was a passenger of a car Ibeabuchi crashed and as a result, is unable to walk normally again.

The latest book in Hamilcar Publications’ Hamilcar Noir series, Ibeabuchi is arguably the least well known boxer in this series but is by no means the least compelling.

On the contrary, Ibeabuchi’s story isn’t just the usual tale of a talented boxer whose faced troubles in and out of the ring and suffered as a result. It could be argued that the suffering was hardwired from a young age. With members of his family suffering with mental illness and his own struggles with mental health, it seems Ibeabuchi was fighting demons on a regular basis. This isn’t to excuse what he did outside the ring and the author Luke Williams does a great job of not using Ike’s mental illness as a get out clause as to why he did as he did.

However, reading the book it did make me wonder why certain people within his own inner circle did not slow things down where his mental illness would manifest itself publicly, and consider whether Ibeabuchi was in a fit state of mind to continue boxing despite his upward momentum in the ring.

The book shines a light on a boxer whose sadly never fought the likes of Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, his struggles in his home country of Nigeria and how his career was sweet, but too short.

The book is a story not just of a boxer’s talent not realised, but of a sport that could have helped him at various moments, but didn’t.

Just like Ike’s career, the book is short but sweet.

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