Although we only saw John DaSilva towards the end of his UK visit, and only on television, he was a man who certainly made an impression. Mind you, he did appear five times on television in 1965, an indication that this was a man who wasn't just big in stature. His costume and physique made an impression as he entered the ring, and when the wrestling started we were not disappointed. John daSilva personified gladiatorial elegance. Maori elegance at that, or so the promoters would have us believe.
A genuine New Zealander, born on 11th June, 1934, in Auckland, John’s blood was a cocktail of Portuguese, Spanish and Tahitian, but Maori he was not! His mother had been born in London whilst father, Domingo, was a New Zealander who had been a champion axeman.
John Walter DaSilva took up amateur wrestling in 1953, winning the New Zealand championship in 1955. He represented New Zealand in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, going out after the second round with losses to Ivan Vykhristyuk and Hussain Noori.
Two years later he came to Britain, representing New Zealand in the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. When the Games were over John sought out a professional career, and was in front of a paying public less than a week after the Games ended.He was an immediate success in both Britain and Germany, quickly climbing the bill to main eventer. In October he made his television debut, beating Ken Davies and losing to Billy Joyce.