C: Basil Coulolias

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Basil Coulolias
Born on 10th November 1927 wrestler Basil Billy Coulolias was from Wellington in New Zealand  and the grandson of a bearded Greek priest. Known as  Billy Coulolias he was one of those who just couldn't decide whether it was to be boxing or wrestling? So he did them both, with some success.

In 1946 Billy Coulolias was boxing and wrestling as an amateur in New Zealand.  He was also a sparring partner for New Zealand middleweight boxing champion, Bos Murphy, getting his nose broken for the privilege.  Arriving in Britain the following year there were reports that he was still smarting from the experience and seeking vengeance.

Billy won the New Zealand amateur middleweight championship at wrestling whilst also continuing to box as an amateur. The following year, aged twenty, he was ready to see the world and earn a living from his chosen sport. He opted for boxing and turned professional, fighting in Greece where he stopped off to meet up with family.

Billy moved on to the rest of Europe and  in June 1947 arrived  in Britain.  He made his British professional boxing debut on 19th August 1947, losing to  Bert Sanders at Walthamstow when he was cut in the fourth round.  He boxed forty matches in the United Kingdom, winning 16, losing 22 and drawing 2. Billy finally  retired from boxing in May, 1951.

It was then that he decided to try his hand at professional wrestling and began to use the  name  Basil.  Initially he over-relied on his strength, which was immense for a welterweight, but returned to the gym and developed his professional wrestling skill. He worked regularly  against a wide range of opponents from lighter men such as Bob Anthony, the charismatic Johnny Kwango to heavier men such as Steve Logan and Dazzler Joe Cornelius. For a period of about four years up to 1962 Basil was a very busy worker, usually for Dale Martin Promotions in 1962.

By the early 1960s Dale Martin had a rival, Australian promoter Paul Lincoln. Lincoln based his tournaments around his own young discoveries, overseas visitors and experienced wrestlers poached  from Dale Martin. In October, 1962, it was the turn of Basil Coulolias to make the move across to Paul Lincoln and other independent promoters. This brought a new set of opponents that included Cowboy Cassidy, Sugar Ray DoDo. Bob Kirkwood and former world champion boxer Randolph Turpin.

Basil continued to entertain the fans until the mid 1960s, with our final sighting of him in February, 1966.

Basil's son seeks further information about his father's wrestling career and can be contacted via this website.
Page added 10/11/2020