K: Kendall - Kerschitz
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
A classy Brixton heavyweight who was one of the original Silent Ones alongside Mike Eagers Harry relinquished his place to tour New Zealand and was replaced by Danny Hegan, whom he then returned to partner when Eagers retired prematurely.
Apart from his tag team acclaim Harry was a highly accomplished singles wrestler, popular amongst fans and well respected amongst his colleagues, “A True wrestler in every sense of the word,” according to wrestler Eddie Rose. . His professional career highlights include a televised tag match alongside Masambula, another top-of-a-televised-bill against Les Kellett, and, in The Silent Ones, a famous Royal Albert Hall victory over The Untouchables.
Harry’s style made him popular with fans. Heritage member Powerlock remembers him as “Impressive in both singles and tag matches, a well respected wrestler and a competitor who gave the punter their moneys worth”
Singles victims included dangerous Danny Lynch and Johnny Yearsley. Previously he had chalked up perhaps one of the most impressive amateur records through the fifties, including British middleweight championships in 1953 and 1954, a bronze medal in the 1954 Commonwealth Games (again at middleweight) and the light heavyweight championship in 1958, shortly after which he turned professional.
Possibly one of the most mysterious and apparently influential names in our listings. This Lincoln Promotions lightweight wore martial arts gear in the early sixties before any other wrestler did, to be followed not so many years later by Alf Marquette, Kung Fu, Iron Fist and others. As early as 1963 he was introducing British wrestling fans to the hitherto largely unknown expression “Kendo”, and this would also go on to form part of the name of at least a couple of well known heavyweights who started their careers later on. Kim Kendo was a regular opponent, and at other times tag partner,of the likes of Jon Cortez, Zoltan Boscik, Johnny Williams and well known contemporary names, but seemed not to make a successful transition after Lincoln and Dale Martin merged at the start of 1966. Photo kindly supplied by Wryton.
Wrestling Heritage curators remain on an ongoing archaeological mission studying the impact and influence of this little mentioned wrestler.
See the entry for Bill Clarke
Bill Kennedy was a popular Isle of Man based wrestler of the 1970s. Born in Crosby, near Liverpool, Bill learned the sport at the Barball Amateur Wrestling Club, Crosby.
After a short spell in London Bill moved to the Isle of Man in the mid 1960s and opened his own hairdressing salon Due to a lack of wrestling opportunities on the island Bill took up judo. He later met a number of others who had wrestled on the mainland and together they decided to form an Isle of man wrestling club..
In July, 1969 Bill made his professional debut at the Villa Marina, Douglas, when he lost by the best of three falls to Ian St John. A few months later, on 23rd August, 1970, Bill overcame Mike Young to take the Isle of Man Lightweight title.
Bill did make it back to the mainland, alongside fellow Islander Phil Barry, in 1972 for a trial with Joint Promotions.
Impressive enough to receive a few bookings Bill seemed to fade away fairly quickly, and Wrestling Heritage writers would very much like to hear from Bill once again to let us know how his career developed and what he is doing these days.
Kangaroo Kennedy (Clyde Hurle)
In 1964 a blond haired man climbing into the ring carrying a boomerang was considered pretty exotic. Kangaroo Kennedy was Clyde Hurle, the Australian heavyweight champion, who first visited Britain in 1964 for Paul Lincoln Management, later working for Joint Promotions. Opponents included top Lincoln men such as Judo Al Hayes, Ray Hunter and Mike Marino, and top Joint men Billy Joyce, Dennis Mitchell and Bruno Elrington. It wasn't the Australian's first visit to Britain, having wrestled in the country during May, 1954, using his family name of Clyde Hurle. Kangaroo Kennedy passed away on 19th November 2002.
The first time we saw Liverpool's John Kenny in the ring he must have been a professional for no more than a few months. It was the summer of 1973 and he was unfortunately injured in a bout with another newcomer, Mark Rocco. In the years that followed we always enjoyed watching John in action, a good humoured wrestler who always seemed to give his best. He never made it to the top rung amongst the McManuss and Pallos, but such was the standard of wrestling in those days that such a statement should not be taken as criticism of a very talented middleweight. John Kenny had some cracking matches with Kevin Conneally, Eddie Rose, Catweazle, Paul Mitchell and other Northern regulars in both independent and Joint Promotion rings. His career extended more than two decades and after retiring from wrestling John could still be seen officiating as a referee, and well into the twenty-first century could be found training youngsters.
Talk of tough old timers and one name that will eventually surface is that of Birmingham's Alf Kent. An all action heavyweight who laid claim to the Midland Area Heavyweight Title Alf appeared in our wrestling rings around 1950. One of his early opponents was fellow Brummie Max Ward, who later succeeded Alf as Midlands champion. Opposition included the biggest names of the day: Jules Kiki, Count Bartelli, Bill Howes and Mike Marino. Alf's wrestling career was brought to an abrupt and premature ending when he suffered a mild heart attack and was advised to retire. Life couldn't be so mundane for Alf and his devotion to the sport prevented him from fading away. Alf joined the ranks of wrestling referees, and is remembered by Heritage member Dave Fletcher who saw Alf as the resident referee at The Atlas in Stetchford, Birmingham, in the late 50's and early 60's, “As great an entertainer as the wrestlers.”
Alf's influence in the business continued as he introduced boxer Randolph Turpin t wrestling and trained one of the top heavyweights of post war years, Bomber Pat Roach.
Alf Kent passed away in 1975.
See the entry for Bill Robinson
Heritage member Phil Kenyon remembers Norman Kenworthy training at Bob Bannister's gymnasium in Accrington alongside Ian St John, Andreas Svajics, Don Plummer and Phil himself. Norman came from Padiham, near Burnley. Norman was a stocky 15 stone heavyweight who worked for the independent promoters in the 1960s, sometimes wearing a mask.
See the entry for Mike Agusta
Bristol’s Jeff Kerry was trained by Roy Harley (who wrestled as Peter Falcon) alongside Danny and Peter Collins and the man who was to become his tag partner, Richie Brooks. He was a popular worker towards the end of the Heritage years in the 1980s, making half a dozen or so television appearances in 1986 and 1987.
Felix made the first of many visits to Britain in 1950, and returned frequently until 1960 Our earliest discovery was Felix Kerschitz wrestling Bernard Coward (Spike O’Reilly) in Chelmsford on 7th February, 1950. Felix, billed as Czechoslovakian, was credited with the European heavyweight title – said to have won it in an open tournament in Vienna in 1949.
His visits to Britain tended to be lengthy affairs of ten to twelve weeks, sometimes longer, though he may well have made side visits back to the Continent. He was here in the spring of 1950, 1951, 1952, almost all of 1953 and 1954, and back again in the springs of 1958, 1959, and 1960. Most matches were in the north of England. He wrestled all the top heavyweights of the 1950s, beating most of them, but often ending up on the wrong end of a disqualification decision.
Heritage member Bernard Hughes has first hand memories of Felix, “One night, Norman Walsh came to pick me up from my house to go to the wrestling at St James Hall. I invited him in. He said that he had Flo (his wife) and Felix in the car, ‘ You should have seen my mother's face when she saw this huge man filling the doorway. Felix Kerschitz came in and spoke to my mother very gently. Surprising for such a big man. This was before the superheavy boys were around and he was a natural 17 stone then. “
Bernard saw Ernie Baldwin (billed as the British Heavyweight Champion) wrestle Felix for the European Title at Newcastle on 28 February, 1953. It was a two fall fight and the final score on that night was 1-0 to Felix, thereby retaining the title. In a non title fight on 28th March, 1953 Felix won 2-1.
On 24th March, 1953, promoter George DeRelwyskow elevated Felix to World heavyweight champion. He defended his (presumably lesser known variant of the) title against Yorkshireman Ernest Baldwin. Over two thousand Dundee fans fans witnessed Baldwin submit twice to lose two to one in the seventh round.
Bernard remembers that Felix Kerschitz was not a particularly inspiring wrestler , very hard working , strong but not full of holds. Baldwin, after the first fight said that Kerschitz was the strongest man that he had fought. We read a report of Felix demonstrating his enormous strength one night in New Brighton when, with one arm, he lifted three fully grown men (a total of 38 stones) and carried them twice around the ring.
In the mid 1950s Felix Kerschitz promoted tournaments in Austria and Germany.