British middleweight champion Bilal Fawaz faces deportation to Nigeria

BOXING

British middleweight champion Bilal Fawaz faces deportation to Nigeria

British middleweight champion Bilal Fawaz faces deportation to Nigeria

The 29-year-old faces deportation to the country of his birth despite spending the majority of his life in, and representing, England.

Bilal Fawaz - an elite-level middleweight boxer who has fought for England six times - has been held in the Tinsley House immigration detention centre since last week and is on the verge of being deported to Nigeria.

The 29-year-old, who was the 2012 Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABA) light-middleweight champion, arrived in the UK from Nigeria when he was 14.

The boxer - known as “Kelvin” - has applied for residency several times, even declaring that he is married to a British citizen, with the Home Office rejecting all his applications.

Detained since last week

Since last Wednesday (November 29), Bilal has been held in the Tinsley House immigration detention centre in South Gatwick, with his deportation to Nigeria pending.

Speaking to GetWestLondon from the detention centre, Kelvin 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.

'I'm allowed to box for England but I'm not allowed to stay in England.”

Man with no nation

Billial claims that he is stateless, since his parents - who were Lebanese immigrants in Nigeria - had no citizenship there.

The middleweight champion was snuck out of Nigeria by one of his uncles when he was a teenager. He was told that his father would arrive in the UK soon after but he never turned up. As of today, he has no idea where his father is.

According to the boxer, his application to the Nigerian Embassy for citizenship was rejected as there was no record of him being born there.

'I have no other family to go back to, I don't know anyone in Nigeria or anything about it - all I know is here.

Regarding Bilal’s case, a Home Office spokesperson said: “When someone has no leave to remain in the UK, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily.

“Where they do not, we will seek to enforce their departure.”

England Boxing has appealed to the Home Office on the boxer’s behalf, but it has been fruitless.

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