By Ismail Auwal
Herbie Hide, a world-renowned international boxer, has converted to Islam 12 years after retirement.
The boxer was guided through the rituals of taking “Shahada” by the leader of Qadriyya Sufi order, Sheikh Qaribullah Nasir Kabara, at a gathering of thousands of followers in Kano.
According to Wikipedia entry, Hide, who was nicknamed “The Dancing Destroyer”, was born in Nigeria in 1971 and relocated to UK at a tender age where he later picked career as a boxer.
Apart from being famous for boxing, he has made headlines for events outside the ring as for those inside it during his more than two decades in the spotlight.
He won his first WBO heavyweight title against Michael Bentt in 1994.
Hide was convicted in 1997 for assaulting two police officers in Norwich.
Returning to the ring in 1998, Hide beat US challenger Damon Reed in less than a minute – described at the time as the fastest-ever heavyweight victory.
Later that year, he claimed he was the victim of a £30,000 blackmail plot after two charges of assault were dismissed by a judge.
Hide believed there was a vendetta against him. “I am a peaceful and innocent man and they keep picking on me,” he said in 2001.
Several subsequent criminal charges against him were dropped.
Hide wore an electronic tag for four months before being cleared of assault on appeal, and in another case served a week in prison on remand before a kidnap case was thrown out.
In 2011 he was cleared of rape after the prosecution offered no evidence.
Despite setbacks in his personal life, Hide pulled no punches in his comments before and after matches.
After defending his title for a second time in 1998, he claimed he “wouldn’t mind fighting the likes of Mike Tyson”, but in 1999 he lost to Vitali Klitschko, currently WBC heavyweight champion.