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B: Bowles - Brazil


Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Chris Bowles

The 1980s welterweight from Tunbridge Wells came from a judo background, joining the Tonbridge Club when he was five years old. In 1978, and again in 1980, he was British Open Champion, a European silver medalist and British member of the judo team in the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Following the Olympics he turned professional wrestler, but remains most famed for his judoka achievements. At the time of his entry to the A-Z Chris is now the chief coach at the Tunbridge Judo Club he joined as a child. He has recently been appointed head coach for the British judo team in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information

Billy Boyle

Rule bending Scot from Coatbridge turned professional in 1968 having trained at Peter Keenan's Glasgow gymnasium. Wrestled through the 1970s, mainly for Morrell/Beresford and Relwyskow and Green Promotions, almost exclusively in Scottish venues.

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Jim Boyle

Once again we turn to our knowledgeable readers for information about Jim Boyle. We do know he was sufficiently active between 1950 and 1954 to justify inclusion in this website.  Opponents included top class wrestlers  Bernard Murray, Frank O'Donnell, Jack Dempsey, Alan Colbeck and Fred Woolley. Was taken on by Joint Promotions post 1952 and seems to have disappeared around 1954.

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Steve Braddock

Twelve stone campaigner around 1963-4 for the independent promoters throughout much of the country. Opponents included Jim Lewis, Tommy Bailey and Roy Royal.

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 Roy Bradley  

Roy Bradley was the name Leicestershire's Roy Malins chose as his ring name back in the late 1940s and 1950s when he started wrestling against the likes of Val Cerino, Norman Thomas and Larry Laycock. In later years during the 1960s and 1970s he worked for independent promoters under a mask as Doctor Death.  Like many other professional wrestlers Roy had to share his love of wrestling with that of earning an honest crust at a machine tool manufacturers, Jones and Shipman, in Leicester. Roy retired in 1972. Five years later he was presented with a Silver Jubilee Medal by the Queen for his services to industry. Between wrestling and the day job Roy somehow found time to work for the charity Campaign to Protect Rural England and as a volunteer  social worker caring for the elderly

Roy died suddenly on September 5th 2007 aged 86 years.

Don Branch

Don Branch is remembered by British wrestling fans for a number of illustrious, and not so illustrious, of reasons.

Most will remember him as a television referee with hair that  defied nature and Edwardian sized sideburns working for Norman Morrell and Ted Beresford; the referee who had the dubious distinction of officiating the infamous televised Mick McManus tussle with Peter Preston.

Older readers will remember him as a fine wrestler, a star of the fifties and early sixties, though his career was dogged by a succession of knee injuries that kept him out of the ring for extended periods. Seen above suffering at the hand of Fred Woolley.

For others there will be another dominant memory of Don Branch, namely the source of one of the many News of the World exposes of British wrestling.

Following a distinguished amateur career Don was persuaded to turn professional in 1952 by Bradford promoter Norman Morrell. His technical ability made him one of the top welter and middleweight contenders until injury forced him to retire in 1965.

As soon as he retired he was taken on as a referee by Norman Morrell, which makes it altogether sadder and mysterious that Morrell was the man he was to betray a decade and a half later.

Crusher Brannigan

Rough, tough American heavyweight and supporting bill wrestler for the WWWF in the 1970s. and worked in Britain in 1982 and 1983. Known in the USA and Japan as Joe Nova, and in Australia  as Joe Brannigan. Unsuccessful challenger of Wayne Bridges for his World Heavyweight Championship.  Partnered Banger Walsh in a Cup Final special against the team of Big Daddy and Kwik Kick Lee. 

Dino Bravo

Dino Bravo was an Italian born naturalised Canadian who tangled with Britain's finest during his tour of 1961 and 1962.

He was a big lad to say the least, but in the best of ways, claiming to be 6'9" tall and very muscular. 

The finest we could offer him included just about all the top British heavyweights, with wins over many but going down to Mike Marino at the Royal Albert Hall.

Not to be confused with the 1980s WWF wrestler Dino Bravo.

Alec Bray

Wigan's Alec Bray was a regular worker throughout the north and midlands during the 1950s. He wrestled top names such as Billy Joyce and Ernie Riley, and was one of the earliest opponents of Billy Robinson in 1958. A good man if he could hold his own in such illustrious company. Sadly Alec died at far too early an age, just 54, in 1980.

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Eric Brazil

Antwerp's Eric Brazil is the son of Belgian wrestler Sus Labrosse. When the youngster first came to Britain he was reputed to have gone two years without being pinned. 

He turned professional in 1967 and made  two fleeting visits to Britain where fans liked his fast, clean and technical style of wrestling.  In October 1972 he lost to Jackie Pallo at the Royal Albert Hall, but doing better on his return to the venue when he returned in November, 1974, to defeat Mel Stuart. Much of his career was spent wrestling in South America.


Seen across the top of the programme put on by London & Provincial Sports promotions (Sammy King )  in 1949:-


Now all be good boys and don't upset the management with swear words.

Thanks to Bernard Hughes