WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

B: George Busfield

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George Busfield


Memories and knowledge of this distinguished Bradford wrestler of the 1940s may be sadly limited but he is a man worthy of remembrance.

Our earliest record of wrestler George Busfield arises from the pages of the Leeds Mercury on 2nd March, 1936, when he competed in the Olympic wrestling trials, and again on 16th March when it was reported that a meeting of the Yorkshire Amateur Weight Lifting and Wrestling Association had nominated wrestlers for the National Championships, to be held on 28th March, which would be used as part of the selection process for the 1936 Olympic Games. Amongst those selected were George Busfield and Raymond Cazeaux at bantamweight. It was Cazeaux that went on to represent Britain. George himself said that he started wrestling in 1934, which would have made it a pretty fast route to those Olympic trials. 

We have found a number of newspaper cuttings during the Second World War in which George, the northern counties amateur champion, was reported  wrestling whilst serving a sergeant in the Royal Air Force. 

Our earliest documented professional record is in May, 1948, losing to Scotland's Andy Anderson by two falls to one at the Caird Hall, Dundee. We do have unverified professional contests going back to December, 1945, at Lime Grove Baths. This must have been one of George's first, if not the first, professional matches as he had taken part in the British Amateur championships just four weeks earlier.  

There is evidence of frequent professional working for promoters George DeRelwyskow and Norman Morrell in the second half of the 1940's. As a fellow Bradfordian and celebrated amateur George would certainly have known Norman Morrell for many years. Professional opponents included other young wrestlers who were to go on to professional success, George Kidd, Alan Colbeck, Jack Dempsey and Bernard Murray among them.

In 1951 Mat magazine published a photograph of George and Bernard Murray with the caption declaring that George had just  won the  British Featherweight championship by defeating Murray at Earls Court. We uncovered such a win at Earls Court on 4th December, 1950. The late historian Allan Best saw George wrestle and recalled an excellent lighter man who had some tremendous contests with fellow Bradfordian Murray. Winning a national title in 1950, reportedly under Lord Mountevans rules, made George one of the first Mountevans champions that pre-dated the formation of Joint Promotions by more than a year.

The Mat wrestling magazine gave a clue to George's wrestling style, saying that he had a keen sense of comedy and had a natural sense that the audience wanted, "As a result any  bill bearing the name of George Busfield was a good selling line." It was said that George could switch from intense agony to delight in a split second, exploiting defeat to make fun of victory.

Despite his wrestling credentials George Busfield failed to make a lasting impact on the professional wrestling landscape and retired at the end of 1952 shortly after Joint Promotions had withdrawn recognition of the bantamweight division.  He certainly didn't lack the skill, but maybe as he headed towards forty years of age George just didn't have the inclination or energy to pursue a professional wrestling career. 

Now here's a bit of wrestling history, supplied by George's son.....