Baptiste and Wasem Handle Parker

george-baptiste

In late 1902, Harvey Parker, a professional wrestler who began wrestling in 1900, travelled to St. Louis to challenge the local wrestling community.  Parker may have thought St. Louis to be an easier town than “Farmer” Burns territory in Chicago and Iowa.  However, Parker would discover two capable wrestler in St. Louis, George Baptiste and Oscar Wasem. By 1902, George

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Sullivan Wins Fight of the 19th Century

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John L. Sullivan was the transitional heavyweight prize fighting champion.  He transitioned prize fighting from the bare knuckle era to modern boxing under the Marquis of Queensbury rules by refusing to fight in any more non-gloved bouts.  Before he made this pledge, he took part in the Fight of the 19th Century with the formidable Jake Kilrain. Jake Kilrain was

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Burns Beats Hart for Heavyweight Title

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On February 23, 1906, World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Marvin Hart defended his title in Los Angeles.  When James J. Jeffries retired as heavyweight champion, Hart and Jack Sharkey fought for the vacant title.  Hart was the surprise winner of the fight. Hart refused to fight Jack Johnson, the recognized best heavyweight.  Instead he fought Tommy Burns, a 5’07” skilled boxer. 

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Russian Civil War Snags Aberg and Lurich

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Estonia gave birth to three of the greatest wrestlers of the first two decades of the 20th Century: Georg Lurich, George Hackenschmidt and Aleksander “Alex” Aberg.  As part of the Russian Empire at the time, Estonia contained a number of elementary and high schools with superior physical education programs. Lurich and Hackenschmidt both started out as weightlifters and transitioned into

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Dave Shade Battles NY Police

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Between 1918 and 1935, Charles D. “Dave” Shade fought all the talented welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight boxers at the time.  Shade employed a defensive boxing style over 249 professional bouts leading to his reputation as a clever boxer.  When he met the New York Police in January 1933, Shade’s science went out the window.  It was a pure brawl.

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Oliver Kirk and the 1904 St. Louis Olympics

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Oliver Leonard Kirk has the distinction of being the only Olympic boxer to win a gold medal in two separate weight classes in the same Olympic Games.  Oliver Kirk accomplished this feat at his hometown Olympics in 1904. St. Louis hosted the third Olympiad during the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition.  Like the Paris Games four years before, St. Louis gave

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Wladek Zbyszko Loses Unexpectedly

wladek-zbyszko

Wladek Zbyszko’s legacy is often overshadowed by his brother Stanislaus Zbyszko.  Stanislaus, who was 12 years older, posed the last real threat to Frank Gotch’s World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. Wladek Zbyszko was a skilled wrestler in his own right.  Unfortunately, he didn’t arrive in the United States until 1914, when most wrestling matches were prearranged.  Wladek had proved his bona

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“Terrible” Terry Beats Dixon for Title

terrible-terry-posing

On January 5, 1900, four days before a showdown with Bantamweight Boxing Champion Terry McGovern, Featherweight World Boxing Champion George Dixon made an announcement to chill the spine of all his supporters.  Dixon announced that win or lose, he would be retiring from the ring after the bout with McGovern. The last thing a manager wants to hear before a

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Masked Marvel Throws Berner

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Wrestling promoter Samuel Rachman created the International Wrestling Tournament in Spring 1915 to highlight the abilities of Aleksander “Alex” Aberg.  Aberg was the Russian Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion.  Rachman believed Aberg could beat any wrestler. Rachman also wanted to lure Frank Gotch, the last undisputed World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, out of retirement to wrestle with Aberg.  Gotch wrestled George Lurich in

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