British wrestling history 

D: Doukhan - Doyle

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Gass Doukhan
The lightweight French based Israeli wrestler with a background in judo made a short visit to the UK in 1965 when he lost by the odd fall to George Kidd at the Royal Albert Hall.

Doulas the Turk
Doulas the Turk was a name forever popping up on wrestling bills in the 1930s, and continuing until 1956. Johnny Doulas was a Turkish Cypriot started wrestling in the early 1930s, mainly in the south but not infrequently venturing into northern England. Unusually he seemed to remain very active during the war and following the end of hostilities worked almost entirely in the north until his retirement. Doulas the Turk wrestled most of the big names during his twenty year career, ranging through the weights from Harold Angus to Bulldog Bill Garnon. His work rate suggests fans were pleased to see him on their shows, but where we have a record of results they are none too impressive.

Marcel Douvinet
The French heavyweight arrived in Britain  towards the end of 1931; we have found him at Nottingham in January 1932  facing King Curtis and a reference to a narrow defeat by British Champion Atholl Oakeley at the London Sports Club in December.1931. Seems to have made intermittent visits to Britain during the remainder of 1932. According to Atholl Oakeley Douvinet was over 45 years old when he came to Britain.

Tom Dowie 
Dundee's Mid heavyweight Tom Dowie was known as  a reliable worker in  Scotland during the 1960s. Reliable, that is,  in the sense that fans knew they would be treated to a good, solid bout of wrestling. Tom was a sports fanatic from an early age and  was reported by The Wrestler magazine to have represented Scotland in an international wrestling tournament. He also enjoyed sailing and owned a boat named Valhalla.  Starting out as a middleweight our earliest find of Tom wrestling professionally is in October, 1958 against Ted Hannon at Kirkcaldy.  He worked regularly at Scottish venues, and only occasionally ventured south of the border. That's why it came as something of a surprise when Ted Beresford gave him his first televised outing in 1964, from Halifax in Yorkshire. His dozen or so subsequent television appearances were all from south of the border!

Terry Downs 
Manchester welterweight Terry Downs turned professional in the early 1960s and seemed one of the welterweight divisions hot prospects for a time. The young Downs , unable to use his real name because there was already a wrestler called Jim Hart, turned to wrestling after working in an abattoir, so no one could accuse him of lacking the killer instinct. Trained as an amateur at the Manchester YMCA with the professional touches added at the Wryton Stadium under the guidance of Francis St Clair Gregory and other Wryton pros. A textbook wrestler, not one to smudge, let alone, bend the rules.  Involved in a series of encounters with Colin Joynson and Al Brown, the type of lower card contest that delighted the fans. Terry Worked almsot entirely in the midlands, north and England and Scotland with the (seemingly obligatory) weekly tour of Dale Martin land (the deep south for non UK readers). He retired from wrestling in 1969. Eddie Rose remembers Terry, "He looked quite like film star Paul Newman and was a favourite with wrestling fans. He had an ongoing rivalry with Colin Joynson in the mid-60s, two Manchester lads but from different ends of the city. I watched him give Jack Demspey a good run for his money one night at Bradford."

Jack Doyle
In 1950 promoter Atholl Oakeley,seeking new talent to re-vitalise his post war wrestling business  encouraged The Gorgeous Gael, a charismatic Irish boxer  to turn wrestler. Nine and a half thousand fans packed Harringay Stadium, paying between 3/6 and three guineas, to witness Doyle, entering the ring resplendent in a white and green satin dressing gown, beat Estonian Martin Bucht in three rounds. Oakeley went on to feature Doyle in more high profile matches at the Harringay Stadium against Aussie the Butcher, the giant German, Gargantua Kurt Zehe and ex boxers Eddie Philips, Two Ton Tony Galento, and Primo Carnera .  Doyle was a larger than life character who had drawn 90,000 for one of his boxing matches at White City, London, in 1933. Despite his ring presence, personality, and high profile launch as a wrestler, the magic had gone, the skill was missing and  the wrestling career fizzled out around the autumn of 1953. In March, 1953, he was knocked out by Heritage friend the "Iron Man of the Lakes" Gerry Hogarth, at the Royal Albert Hall. Doyle's ability to earn a fortune during his life was matched with an ability to spend it. When he was declared bankrupt in 1953 Doyle claimed he was still the highest paid wrestler in Britain, although his pay had dropped from the £987 he had received for his debut match in 1950, to £25 a match. Jack Doyle died penniless on 13th December, , 1978.

Page reviewed: 01/10/2019