Bouncer turned boxer lost NBA dream but 6ft 6in star now fights for England

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Delicious Orie reckons he has the ingredients to go all the way to the top in boxing – but he had to fight to even get the chance to represent his country.

The Birmingham super-heavyweight is next in line off the conveyor belt of talent in the division out of this country – following on from Olympic medallists Audley Harrison, David Price, Anthony Joshua, Joe Joyce and Frazer Clarke.

The 25-year-old boxer has lived in the UK since he was eight, after being born in Russia to a Russian mother and Nigerian father.

READ MORE: Delicious Orie ready to taste glory as he aims to follow Anthony Joshua path to gold

But despite his Brummie twang and clear ambition to proudly represent his country, immigration rules nearly wrecked his dreams.

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Orie is resident but wasn't due to qualify for a UK passport until next year – which would have meant he couldn't compete in the Commonwealth Games in the city he calls home and his chances of going to Paris 2024 would also have disappeared.

"My status meant I should have got the passport in 2023 but I needed it earlier for this and initially it was a 'no' and I was told there was no way to get a passport before 2023," he said.

"Sometimes there are roadblocks that are not your fault."

Who will be the Team England star at the Commonwealth Games? Let us know in the comments section below

The lack of a UK passport had already ruined 6ft 6in Orie's ambition to play in the NBA and he turned to boxing at 18.

But when he was selected for the GB squad which trains in Sheffield, the fact he couldn't compete in international competitions meant he wasn't eligible for funding.

Orie, who graduated with a degree in economics in 2020, was not deterred and worked part-time as a bouncer, did shifts at McDonald's and grafted in warehouses.

It was so he had enough money to put petrol in his car to drive to Sheffield for training.

But now he can start dreaming of big-money professional contracts if he can win medals at the Commonwealth Games and then the Olympics in 2024.

With his name, he is also going to stand out.

"Nigerians like to call their kids unique names," he said.

"Delicious stands out even more. It is even weird in Nigerian terms. My dad wanted to really stand out.

"It was a last minute thing. My mum wanted something else but as soon as I was born that was when the decision was called.

"My mum took over after me as my siblings are Benjamin, Vivienne and Vanessa. My mum didn't speak English so she didn't know what the name meant."

Orie spent the first eight years of his life growing up in Russia. He was born in Moscow but lived further south. He is all too aware of the situation with Ukraine.

"I keep in touch with my nan," he said. "We also have family in Ukraine.

"My mum always said Russia and Ukraine are like brothers and sisters so it is like a broken family.

"You have two sides who don't want this but a few people at the top who think they know best. It's hard. Fortunately my family are okay on both sides.

"One of the biggest things I've picked up speaking to my nan is that the people don't want it, the people just want to get along. They want to get on with their lives. It's a decision of a few people at the top.

"I feel this will push the economy back and the country back, which is a shame. This is what greed and power does to people."

Orie feels at home now in Birmingham. He grew up just 20 minutes from where he will compete for England in the Commonwealth Games at the NEC.

He couldn't speak a word of English when he arrived here but now he's ready to become a national star.

Orie's boxing journey is different from others. He picked it up at 18 with no clue about what it would entail.

His dad had to be convinced this was the sport for a quiet, well educated and self-confessed 'introvert'.

"I'd never been to a boxing gym in my life," said Orie.

"The first thing I remember is the musty, nasty smell of sweat, BO. It was horrible.

"I was thinking to myself, 'This is going to be my life now for 15 years'.

"When I got hit in the face for the first time, I thought 'This is something I've got to get used to'.

"I said to myself I would go through whatever it takes to achieve.

"Honestly, I made my mind up before I went to a gym. I never ever threw a punch but before I went I decided I would do this and I would get to this level."

Now he is the next in line in the super-heavyweight position. Commonwealth Games is the first aim, then it will be the Olympics as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Joshua, who also began boxing at 18.

"I was inspired by AJ," he added. "I want to go all the way as an amateur and go all the way as a professional. Now I'm starting to find myself as an individual."

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