F: Franklin - Froehner
Standing six feet tall and weighing around 14 stones Len Franklin was known as the Elstree Adonis and was part of the All-In wrestling scene from the outset. We first come across Len on 9th February, 1931 when he wrestled Yugoslav George Modrich at Belle Vue, Manchester, in a wrestling bout on a boxing show.
From a seemingly lacklustre start to his professional career in 1931 Len began to sparkle the following year with impressive wins over Sam Rabin, Jack Pye, Barney O'Brien, Stan Roberts and George Gregory. Atholl Oakeley listed him an equal to Bert Assirati, Douglas Clark and Barney O'Brien.
He was certainly good enough to challenge Atholl Oakeley for the British heavyweight championship, having won through a series of eliminating contests. He was deemed unfortunate to have lost to Oakeley after sustaining a knee injury in the third round of their contest at the New Victoria Halls, Nottingham, on 29th August 1932. A return contest, on 25th September, 1932, again resulted in a victory for Oakeley, but Len reportedly “gave the champion one of his hardest fights of the year.”
Although Len's scientific knowledge of wrestling was surpassed by few, if any, as shown in matches against Sam Rabin and Jim Wango, we wouldn't rate him alongside those greats because his record was far more patchy and his career short; we have no records beyond 1934. That's a short record by anyone's standards.
Huddersfield based Scots wrestler from Motherwell billed as Bantamweight Champion of Scotland in 1936. Moved up to lightweight and claimed the Scottish lightweight championship. Had some cracking matches against former Olympian Joe Reid. We have found active years 1935 to 1938.
Stockton's Brian Eeles was one of the multitude of Teesiders who worked for independent promoters in the 1970s. A giant of a man, standing well over six feet tall and tipping the scales at 19 stones he used the ring name of Glen Frazer. Glen trained at Alex McDonald's gymnasium, the Alexandra Wrestling Club in Cannon Street, Middlesbrough. Glen worked mostly in the North East of England alongside the likes of Les Prest, Pete Ross, and Jimmy Devlin. He died suddenly on November 15th, 2015, aged 75 years. His wife, Margaret, died eight days later.
Dave Freeman trained at the Chelmsford Amateur Wrestling Club and worked for Dale Martin Promotions in the 1970s. He made a couple of television appearances in 1975, losing by the odd fall to bothe Johnny Kwango and Catweazle.
Known as “Little Hack” in his native Australia George was a 12 stone wrestler of considerable strength and skill, shown in matches with Dick Wills, Billy Riley, Rashid Anwar and Harold Angus. George visited Britain from 1936 – 7, billed as the welterweight champion of is country. Eddie Capelli said it was a contest at Blackfriars between Harold and George French that had inspired him to take up wrestling. A match against Cliff Warner was reported as the best of the evening, full of splendid locks and holds.
A powerful heavyweight who weighed over 16 stone German champion Heinrich Froehner wrestled fairly regularly in Britain between 1932 and 1937, twice holding the European heavyweight championship, by defeating and losing it again to Atholl Oakeley and Karl Pojello.
Froehner decisively defeated British heavyweight champion Atholl Oakeley, the Nottingham Evening Post reporting, “The German was the more accomplished wrestler, and this with his prodigious strength, was responsible for Oakeley’s first defeat in the local ring.”
In February, 1933, Pojello beat Froehner at Nottingham in the sixth round to win the European Heavyweight Championship. Froehner had taken the title from Oakeley some six weeks earlier.
Froehner met and defeated most of the big names in European wrestling apart from Oakeley and Pojello.
Page revised 06/10/2019: Addition of Tony Fraser and George French