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Kelvin Bilal Fawaz: Boxer detained in immigration row

Kelvin Bilal Fawaz Image copyright Kelvin Bilal Fawaz
Image caption Kelvin Bilal Fawaz said he was detained without his medication

A former England boxer embroiled in an immigration dispute has been arrested and detained.

Nigeria-born Kelvin Bilal Fawaz, 31, who has no leave to remain in the UK, was arrested after the Nigerian High Commission requested an interview.

Mr Fawaz, who has criminal convictions, said he would "100%" have complied if given a time or place for the interview, rather than be detained.

A Home Office spokeswoman said it had a "duty to protect the British public".

The London-based former England amateur light-middleweight champion, born to a mother from Benin and a Lebanese father, came to the UK as a 14-year-old.

He told the BBC he spent his teenage years in the care system and lost his leave to remain in 2006, at the age of 18, and has since been seeking asylum.

Image copyright Kelvin Bilal Fawaz
Image caption Kelvin Bilal Fawaz performs music under the name State Lezz

Mr Fawaz has 15 convictions for crimes including drug and driving offences, but he said he was "misguided", has not been to prison and has not offended in seven years.

"They deem me a threat to the public, they say I'm not conducive to the society, but they allow me to represent England in fighting," he said.

"While I was doing all this I changed my life around because I realise those people that I was hanging around with as a kid, they're not going anywhere."

The Home Office said the Nigerian High Commission asked for a face-to-face interview with Mr Fawaz, who said he does not "understand how they can lock me up as a criminal".

"I told them if they had given me a time or place I would 100% comply," he said.

He was arrested on Tuesday and said he was detained without any medication which he takes for his mental health.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Home Office has a duty to protect the British public by removing those who commit criminal offences and have extensive criminal histories."

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