U&V: Vallon - Van Lotter
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Like many others the Mancunian Tony Vallon's interest lay in body building, and it was later that he joined other wrestlers in the gym and became interested in the sport.
Born on 15th May, 1928 he was twenty-one when he turned professional in 1949 and had his last contest thirteen years later. It was whilst completing his national service that Tony became interested in wrestling, and interest he pursued on his return to Manchester. Tony's muscular physique made him a popular light heavyweight of the 1950s, not only in Britain but also on the continent, particularly in Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. His weight positioned him well to meet a wide range of opponents from welterweight Alan Colbeck to heavies Gerry deJager and even Man Mountain Benny, with just about everyone else in between. Tony was a very busy wrestler but confined most of his appearances to north of Birmingham with the occasional jaunts into the deep south, which even included Royal Albert Hall matches against Steve Logan and Billy Howes.
He was one of the pioneers of television wrestling; we have three recorded bouts (there may have been others) against Inca Peruano, John Foley and Billy Howes.
Benny Van Den Burg
Heritage member Tom Hawes was impressed when he watched Benny van Den Berg in the early 1960s on Paul Lincoln tournaments against wrestlers such as Peter Rann and Iron Jaw Joe Murphy. "He was skilled and clearly an experienced wrestler," Tom told us. Tom was surprised to find Benny missing from the A-Z and provided information for us to rectify the omission.
Born in Durban in 1933 Benny was orphaned soon after birth and brought up in an orphanage before coming to Manchester to be brought up by an aunt. It was a rough area and Benny was in frequent scrapes with other youngsters. This led to a futile attempt to enter the professional boxing ring which did lead to a meeting with Micky Kiely and regular work on Micky's fairground boxing booth.
Benny got to know wrestler John Bates, better known as The Ghoul. Benny learned the rudiments of wrestling from Bates and started working for independent promoters in northern England. In 1955 he returned to South Africa for a short time, returning with a South African welterweight championship belt which he never lost in the ring. Eventually he moved south to work for Paul Lincoln, who in the early 1960s was the biggest of the independent promoters. Benny worked regularly for Paul Lincoln but with the merger of Lincoln into Joint Promotions he decided he did not want to pursue his career with the cartel. He continued to work for other opposition promoters for a few years but towards the end of the decade decided to retire from wrestling and became manager of the Riverboat Night Club in Salford. Management of one club led to management of many, until Benny retired and settled into a quieter life.
Benny Van Den Burg died in July, 2016.
Piet Van Dooren
A 15 stone all-action heavyweight from the Netherlands, "The Flying Dutchman," who was well known in the German tournaments, visited Britain in June 1955, with opponents including Jack Pye, Francis St Clair Gregory and Dave Armstrong.
Izzy Van Dutz
Professional wrestling has never been short of colourful characters and just the wonderful name of Izzy Van Dutz was enough to make him one of the most colourful. The dramatic resurgence of professional wrestling in the 1930s left promoters with a major headache, where to find sufficient wrestlers to meet demand. Their solution, and one replicated thirty years later by Paul Lincoln, was to make use of a combination of evergreen professionals who had made a name for themselves twenty years earlier, import aged or inexperience or overseas wrestlers and develop local talent of mixed ability, often creating colourful personalities for a bit of added attraction.
Izzy Van Dutz falls into the latter category. Izzy was billed as a Dutch champion, but although he may have had Dutch ancestry he only needed to open his mouth to confirm he was London through and through.
Eddie Rose told us: "In November 1963, I wrote an article for The Wrestler magazine about the history of the King's Hall at Belle Vue, "The Greatest Tradition in Wrestling". I had access to the archives at Belle Vue and interviewed Wright Mallinson, the time keeper at the King's Hall for over thirty years at that time. One of his best memories was of Izzy van Dutz, a top attraction, and whose catch-phrase "How d'ya like-a-that?" to a hapless opponent usually brought the house down. Sounds as if he was a precursor of Leon Arras with his 'How about that then, referee?' "
Izzy was one of the many Atholl Oakeley creations. He was a top of the bill worker for Oakeley in the 1930s, though we've never heard anyone say that he was a top wrestler. The man had bags of personality, and in the wrestling business we all know how important that is. Oakeley was a master at creating larger than life personalities with legendary stories to support their persona. In 1936, at the start of the Spanish Civil War posters even proclaimed that Izzy had “Just escaped from Spain,” which we find rather suspect as he had been wrestling the best in Britain in Britain for the previous four years. On another occasion it was claimed that he had visited America but had to leave after three matches because “The Yanks refused to fight him.”
Izzy appeared on the British wrestling scene in 1932. He started out as an Oakeley man, opposing other Oakeley regulars like Carver Doone, Norman the Butcher and Oakeley himself. As a crowd pleaser his services were taken up by other promoters and he worked throughout Britain during the 1930s. We can find no evidence of him working overseas.
During his career the dastardly Izzy wrestled every big name of the period from Athol Oakeley to World Champion Jack Sherry and Golden Boy Mike Marino. Indeed, Oakeley said it was Izzy Van Dutz that finally ended his career, through a shoulder injury. Most definitely rooted in the pre war years Izzy’s career continued post war and our final recorded appearance is 1952, at Bury St Edmunds against Don Stedman.
Tony Van Hal
Mid heavyweight from Belgium worked in Britain in the 1950s.
Arnold Van Heiden
The Anglo Dutch welterweight worked for the independent promoters from the late 1950s, moving across to Dale Martin in 1963. Our last record of him is in 1964. Tony Scarlo is seeking news of his old friend who he remembers lived in the East End of London where he owned a shoe shop called Footwear Maintenance, later re-locating to Dagenham.
Fred Van Lotter
Born in Cape Town, in 1934, this South African middleweight first came to Britain in 1959, and became a regular feature in Southern rings for the following few years.
From his home in Cape Town Fred had worked as a professional photographer and crew member on a tuna vessel before taking up professional wrestling. He had been professional for less than a year, having made his debut in South Africa against lightweight champion Billy Meyer at Gordon’s Bay only a few months earlier, when he set out on the journey north to Britain.
His rough-house style found him few fans amongst the British wrestling enthusiasts but made him an ideal tag partner for Iron Jaw Joe Murphy. The pair annexed the European welterweight tag team title from Ken Joyce and Eddie Capelli for a short time.