B: Boganski - Borg
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A famous visitor to British wrestling rings of the 1930s was George Boganski from Odessa. Boganski was part of the 1930s revival from the very start, even prior to the December 30th, 1930, inauguration bouts at Belle Vue, Manchester and London's Olympia. Some six weeks earlier Boganski had arrived in Britain to take part in an exhibition of the new style of wrestling, opposing George Modrich on 13th November, 1930, at the London Sports Club. "A delightful exhibition of wrestling ... I enjoyed every second of the forty minutes wrestling," was the opinion of Daily Mirror reporter P.J.Moss.
On his arrival he was already a seasoned professional and had wrestled around the world. George left Russia (he was born in Odessa, now part of Ukraine) shortly before the outbreak of the First World War and had arrived in Australia, travelling with a group of ballet dancers. It was here that he took up wrestling and turned professional. The Transvaal National Sporting Club invited George to wrestle in South Africa. In 1929 he had wrestled Benny Sherman, another man instrumental in bringing the new style of wrestling to Britain. Boganski was soon headlining against the top men leading the sport forward in Britain, defeating the great Henry Irslinger, but coming off second best against Bert Assirati and Atholl Oakeley. Against Irslinger George tortured his opponent in the fifth round with a wicked toe hold. Although he escaped Irslinger was near exhaustion, the youth and fitness of the Russian having taken it's toll. When Irslinger tried to trip George and fall backwards on him Boganski neatly twisted his body and manoeuvred Irslinger beneath him to take the fall and the decision.
George Boganski wrestled in Britain during much of the 1930s, though intermittently due to his travels overseas A skilled technical wrestler Boganski was one of the top heavyweight contenders of the 1930s, wrestling the greats Jack Sherry and Carl Pojello,and weighed around 14 stones. Boganski took British citizenship and is credited with the training of Norman Ansell, known to fans as Norman the Butcher.
. An unusual event occurred when he returned to South Africa in 1934. In Port Elizabeth George Boganski was due to wrestle Denmark's Thor Jensen. George made his way to the ring and waited patiently for his opponent to follow. Very patiently. Not so patient were the fans who became very restless. The promoter grew increasingly frustrated as the search for the Danish wrestler proved unproductive. In despair the promoter announced that the Dane was injured and a substitute would appear, an announcement that angered the crowd further. The following day the mystery was solved. The Danish wrestler was not injured; he had been kidnapped at gunpoint before he could enter the ring!
In March 1938 George wrestled Jack Sherry in Plymouth for the World Heavyweight Championship, but weighing only around 14 stones did not have the power to overcome the champion. A great contributor to British wrestling it seems that George grew to love the country in which he worked and took British citizenship.
Roger Boileau (Billy Red Cloud)
French Canadian Roger Boileau was the teenage idol when he first zipped across the Atlantic in December, 1961. He was trained by professionals Bob Lortie and Tony Lanza, both of whom encouraged him to gain further experience in Britain. His acrobatic style made him a popular visitor, none more so than when he was knocked out by Jackie Pallo on television in January 1962. Roger worked in Britain for Dale Martin Promotions for three months, opponents including Mick McManus, Eddie Capelli and Steve Logan. Mid March he disappeared from the rings, seemingly lost to British fans. This was not the case. For Roger it was a new outfit and a new image. Cashing in on the success of Billy Two Rivers he had a mohican haircut, bought a headdress, took the name Billy Red Cloud and started to work for Paul Lincoln and the independent promoters.
Bobby Bold Eagle
Yet another of the whooping headdresses native Americans who followed Billy Two Rivers and featured in our 1980s wrestling rings.
Bold Eagle was here for much of the 1980s, setting up home at Wallasey in Merseyside, where he became good friends with Heritage member Arty Drummer.
He made an impressive sight as he made his entrance. Removal of the costume and as wrestlers go he certainly looked the part. Bold Eagle whooped, war danced and tomahawked his way to victory against a multitude of 1980s villains. The fans loved his appearances.
He came to national attention on television, where he partnered Big Daddy (in 1981) to overcome Wild Angus (a frequent foe) and Bull Pratt. Other television opponents were Pete Lapaque and Mark Rocco. Take note of the poster below, a high profile contest at London's Royal Albert Hall against the country's number one villain, Mick McManus.
The man behind the war cries was twenty-something Robert Cortes, an American from Arizona trained by the great Argentina Rocca.
An experienced professional he had turned professional in 1968, working at the time for the WWWF, forerunner of the WWE.
During his career Bobby Bold Eagle travelled the world, and worked in much of Europe, North and Central America, Japan, Guatemala, and Saudi Arabia.
Following his UK sojourn he wrestled in Spain and Germany, finally retiring in 1991 to start the Bobby Bold Eagle Wrestling Academy.
A powerful continental heavyweight from France who visited Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite his impressive power and skill he suffered notable Royal Albert Hall losses against Tony Mancelli (1954) Tibor Szakacs (1964) and Josef Zaranoff (1964).
Appearing throughout Britain at all the largest venues against the biggest names his record was surprisingly lacklustre, with losses recorded against Billy Robinson, Ernie Baldwin, Tibor Szakacs, Billy Two Rivers, John da Silva, Billy Joyce, Earl Maynard and Gordon Nelson.
Born in Paris, in 1924, Andre was French heavyweight champion, and formed a formidable tag partnership with Roger Delaporte. He went on to wrestle in North America and appeared in numerous films.
Dave Butcher Bond (Soulman Bond)
From the moment he erupted onto the British wrestling scene in the mid 1970s Dave Bond was always an imposing figure who grappled and grunted his way to the not infrequent disqualification. Whether he was Dave "The Lion" Bond, Soulman Bond with his arrogant swagger or the harder edged Butcher Bond here was a man who knew how to rile a crowd. His rugged features made him an inevitable villain, and he played the role to perfection. From the outset he was a regular inclusion on Dale Martin shows against the likes of Johnny Yearsley, Ian Muir and John Elijah. Dave came to the attention of fans nationwide in January 1976 when he drew with Johnny Czeslaw in a televised contest at Gravesend. There were further appearances against Ivan Penzecoff, Steve Logan, Mike Marino and then the fur really began to fly! In October, 1977 television viewers for the first time witnessed Dave with his new tag partner Johnny Kincaid; known collectively as the Caribbean Sunshine Boys, a name coined by Mike Marino. At the time of their tv debut Kincaid and Bond had only been in partnership for a few weeks but had already made their mark at the Royal Albert Hall against Roy St Clair and Johnny Wilson. It was in partnership with Kincaid, who was to become his lifelong friend, that Dave Bond was at his most notorious. The Caribbean Sunshine established themselves as one of the most emotive and hated tag teams in British wrestling. So much so that with ringside violence occurring at some of their matches the decision was made to disband the team within a year. Dave Bond remained a prominent figure in British wrestling for a further decade, making his last television appearance in July 1988, a few weeks before wrestling disappeared from British screens.
Another flag bearer of the white rose county. Doncaster's Chic Booth had a background as a weightlifter and acrobat before turning to professional wrestling. He even toured the country's variety halls in the 1930s with his hand balancing act. Labelled "The Doncaster Strongman" he made his professional debut in 1941 and for the following twelve years was a regular fixture on the wrestling bills of the north and midlands. In 1953 fans were saddened by his retirement, though relieved to See the entry for him appearing on a part time basis a couple of years later until the end of the decade. Following his return to the ring Chic also began officiating as the third man. He trained ar his own gym, in Balby, where his proteges included Rex Harrison, Mick McMichael and Albert Wall.
See the entry for King Ben
Benito Boratti, Luigi Boratti, Jean Boratti, Bert Boratti ... change the names as often as you like but the mystery remains. An alleged Italian with a description that matched that of Bert Assirati. He was not Assirati though, according to Assirati expert Mike Hallinan, and confirmed by the investigations of Ron Historyo. Said to have been trained in Wigan at Charnock's gym, he seems to have been based in Lancashire and appeared on the scene in 1937 with mixed fortunes. In January, 1938, he loses to two and a half stones lighter Madrali (who had already wrestled once that night). A month later is knocked out by little known Will Rogers but a few weeks later is fighting Jack Sherry with the world title at stake (4th April, 1938 in Southampton). Last seen in December, 1939, with a no-show at Liverpool the following month.
Fast and furious the Borg twins could make you dizzy. Twins Ignatious and Tony Borg were born in August, 1947 in Sliema Malta. The boys came to Britain in 1957 and turned professional in 1965. The following year, in March, Iggy lost to Jon Cortez in his televised debut. He had more success the following month when he returned to the small screen and defeated Welsh lightweight champion Johnny Williams. It wasn't until 1967 that the twins wrestled on tv in tag action for the first time. Their speed and skill made them television favourites throughout the land, though their live appearances were largely limited to the South. Surprisingly most of their early bouts were in singles competition and regular tag success did not come about until they had worked professionally for over a year.
Tony was the older of the Borg twins, four minutes the senior of brother Ignatious. Born in August, 1947 in Sliema Malta the boys came to Britain in 1957 and turned professional in 1965. Tony made his debut a few weeks before Ignatious and kept up the pressure on little brother by making the first Royal Albert Hall debut. His first televised bout came in March, 1966, losing by a knockout to the Pakistani Mir Zafear Ealam. Although the twins did frequently wrestle in single matches, especially in the first two years of their professional career their greatest success was as a tag team, meeting the likes of the Cortez Brothers, Royals and the villainous McManus and Logan pairing. On television they defeated The Artful Dodgers, the Magyars, the Dennisons and held the number one tag team, the Royal brothers, to a draw.
Page revised 13/04/19: Addition of Benito Boratti