A Muslim boxing champion who has fought for England has been detained at an immigration centre and is in the process of being deported to Nigeria.
Bilal Fawaz, also known as “Kelvin”, is London’s current middleweight boxing champion.
He arrived in the UK from Nigeria at the age of 14 and has represented England on six occasions.
However, the 29-year-old’s leave to remain has expired and for the past week he’s been detained in an immigration centre which he described is “like prison”, pending his deportation to Nigeria.
The Home Office has rejected Bilal’s numerous applications for residency and declared his marriage to a British citizen void.
The boxer said: “I’ve spent over half of my life here. I went to school here, I lived here, I’ve boxed for England five or six times and never lost.
“I am a national champion – in 2014 I even boxed for England against Nigeria, the country they want to deport me to.”
The young boxer was forced to be a domestic slave by an uncle when he arrived in Britain.
The teen then ran away from home, eventually finding his way into boxing.
He has since become a successful boxer who also works with young people at the Stonebridge Boxing Club which helped him as a youth.
Bilal said: “Imagine how it feels to represent a country and then to have that country turn around and put you in what feels like a prison.”
He claimed he was stateless, adding that his application for Nigerian citizenship had also been rejected as there was no record of him being born there.
Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell, and England Boxing have appealed to the authorities on the boxer’s behalf, but without success.