If prizes were given for longevity then the Sheffield light heavyweight Alan Kilby would have a sideboard full of them because his professional career spanned over forty years. In the 1960s and 1970s Kilby was a regular on the nation's television screens, often partnering Harry Kendall, Mike Eagers or Tim Lomas in the Silent Ones tag team. Alan was a more than competent wrestler, very popular with the fans . Alan made it as British champion and did not allow his deafness to get in the way of a long and successful career. In the 1980s Alan had a rivalry with Dave Finlay that saw the Heavy Middleweight title pass between them over a two year period. Alan then went up a weight division to light heavyweight where he won the British championship on five occasions and retired as undefeated champion. In July 2009 Alan received a lifetime achievement award from Birmingham’s Deaf Cultural Centre for his work as an ambassador for the deaf community. His son Adam has continued the families contribution to the British wrestling scene.
Alan was a more than competent wrestler, very popular with the fans . Alan made it as British champion and did not allow his deafness to get in the way of a long and successful career.
In the 1980s Alan had a rivalry with Dave Finlay that saw the Heavy Middleweight title pass between them over a two year period. Alan then went up a weight division to light heavyweight where he won the British championship on five occasions and retired as undefeated champion.
In July 2009 Alan received a lifetime achievement award from Birmingham’s Deaf Cultural Centre for his work as an ambassador for the deaf community. His son Adam has continued the families contribution to the British wrestling scene.
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The heavyweight from Pontefract was liked by fans and fellow wrestlers. He had the look of a bruiser and fans expected action when Gordon Kilmartin got into the ring, and they usually got it.
Gordon was one of Charlie Glover's lads, learning the business at Charlie's gym behind the Junction Public House. We have been told that Gordon was one of the hard men of the gym, and would be called upon if any of the youngsters needed a bit of come-uppance.
His entrance to the ring in a colourful red and gold coat belied a gritty, tenacious wrestler who knew all the moves. Gordon boxed as an amateur going on to learn the professional trade in the boxing and wrestling booths of the north.
Other sporting interests included rugby union which he pursued during his national service. It might have been fifteen years of pitwork that gave him courage, but it was hard work and natural ability that gave Yorkshireman Gordon the skill to become a popular heavyweight of the 1950s and 1960s.
He retired from the ring in the mid sixties and became a pub landlord at the Gardeners Arms in Pontefract.
A combination of judo and wrestling holds from this Japanese visitor in 1957. He was considered one of the greatest judoka of all time, becoming the youngest ever 5th degree black belt in 1938, aged just eighteen.
At the Royal Albert Hall he defeated Judo Al Hayes in May 1957, returning to the Kensington venue to knock out Jim Hussey the following October.
Other British opponents included Vic Hessle, Alan Garfield, Black Butcher Johnson, Dai Sullivan and Tony Mancelli.
He famously lost to Japanese legend Rikidozan and later claimed he had been double-crossed as the bout was planned to end in a draw.
Masahiko Kimura died from lung cancer on 18th April, 1993.
We loved Johnny Kincaid the first time we saw him; mind you he was on the receiving end of a pretty severe beating from Dominic Pye. Over the years we watched this slender youngster grow in stature, confidence and acclaim to become one of the country's top wrestlers mixing it with the best of the bunch ranging from Mick McManus to Mighty John Quinn.
The latter day Kincaid was a complex fighter whose actions meant he could be loved and loathed by fans, sometimes even during the same match. Experience in the fairground wrestling booths led Johnny to a professional career, making his debut at his local hall in Dulwich. The move to Joint Promotions came in 1969 and shortly afterwards Johnny dyed his hair blond and adopted a much harder style.
In the latter half of the 1970s Johnny formed an explosive tag team with Dave Butcher Bond, The Caribbean Sunshine Boys. Explosive is hardly an underestimation and eventually the team was disbanded due to the amout of aggravation they created, often of a racial nature.
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Wigan's Freddy Morley was active in the 1940s and 1950s, given his ring name as a result of his curly hair.
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Johnny King of Doncaster was a busy worker in the 1940s and 1950s, travelling nationwide to tangle with the likes of Jack Dempsey, Jack Beaumont and Count Bartelli (in the days Bartelli weighed around 13 stones. A forgotten hero, Johnny King is credited as the man who trained Albert Rocky Wall.
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Lanky Sussex-based equestrian and 6"5" heavyweight wrestler whose features assured him a movie role as Frankenstein’s Monster.
In-ring master of the spinning cradle hold, this New Zealander faced all the great heavyweights of British wrestling in a two-decade career that came to an end in 1970.
The tough New Zealander came to Britain in 1946 at a time when professional wrestling was re-establishing itself as a popular spectator sport.
Before the war Ernie Kingston had been runner up in the New Zealand heavyweight amateur boxing championships of 1938, and also played rugby.
Ernie is also remembered as an excellent horse rider, and in Germany would ride his horse into the stadium and up to the ringside.
On the back of his film stardom, he wrestled for a while also under the intriguing name, The Great Karloff.
A few bouts using the name Tommy Watts (a name in 1979 borrowed by Anaconda Alan Taylor) and then promoter Norman Morrell unleashed Mal Kirk on an unsuspecting world. Here was a menacing super-heavyweight with his own immobile and then suddenly frantic style. Tagged at outset with Paul Luty, the pair pictured right. At a competitive level Mucky Mal peaked with his 1971 final showing in the annual Royal Albert Hall Tournament Trophy, defeating Mike Marino by a straight fall in qualifying, the bout pictured left.
He spent much of the mid-seventies wrestling in Germany and had most success in the North West, triumphing in the 1977 Oldenburg tournament and the following year's in Bremen.
The Yorkshire miner bulked up to 25 stones in the late seventies and became billed as Kojak Kirk and King Kong Kirk in the UK, his diligent work downgraded by tacky promoters. For all his ferocity he was greatly loved by the fans, notable amongst whom is Simon Waters. Died a tragic death in ring, reported throughout the tabloid press.
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