K: Knowles - Kolokotroni
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Leeds lightweight Chris Knowles was a sensation when he made his professional debut as a fifteen year old. The blond hair, the looks, the speed and the technical skill taught by his grandfather the great Cyril Knowles quickly established the teenager as a firm favourite on the northern independent scene in the mid 1970s. Cyril was immensely proud that his grandson was carrying on the family tradition in style. Chris mostly worked in singles matches against the likes of Al Marshall, Dirty Billy Bates and Shaun Lavery, but also learned a great deal partnering the veteran Gorilla Reg Ray in tag matches. Tragically Chris's promising career, and his life, was cut short when he was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was just twenty years old..
Read our extended tribute in Personality Parade: A Gentleman of the Land; A Man of the People.
Our earliest record of Gil Knutson is in British Columbia, Canada, in March, 1934. By 1937, and into 1938, he was wrestling in Britain, facing the likes of Francis St Clair Gregory, Karl Reginsky and Benny Engblom. Gil was billed as light heavyweight champion of Norway. Except, that is, when he was Swedish, or Danish. He may well have been of Scandinavian birth but was certainly wrestling in North America prior to his tour of Britain. Numerous reports of Gil Knutson’s matches indicate he was a wrestler of some considerable skill. After retiring from wrestling Gilman went into a career in banking, and was made Director of the Desert Empire Bank in California in 1974.
Gil Knutson died in Hawaii in 1997; he was 86 years old.
Visiting overseas wrestlers seemed to fall into one of two categories; there were the invincible ones who defeated all before them, and there were the fall guys who made the gallant Brits look good. When the twenty stones Japanese heavyweight Shozo Kobayashi arrived on our shores in October, 1968 it was quickly apparent that although he was something of a novice sent to Britain as part of his wrestling education, he was definitely placed in the first category. An opening win over Roy Bull Davis was followed by a first round knock out of Les Herberts in front of an astonished tv audience, and completed his first ten days in the country with a Royal Albert Hall destruction of John Cox. The following few months saw Shozo go on to defeat the best that we could offer, including Albert Wall, Al Hayes, Bruno Elrington (at the RAH), Tibor Szakacs (on tv), Pat Roach, Ian Campbell, and even a straight falls win over Dory Dixon.. Breaking the mould of the dastardly Orientals usually portrayed in British wrestling the fans rather took to the genial twenty-four year old. He was a popular visitor to Britain during the 1968-9 winter before going on to greater things in the USA as Strong Kobayashi
Said to be Swedish, but most likely Canadian, as it was here we find his earliest records in 1933. Kohnk was an all action blond tiger of the 1930s ring. Wrestled in Britain for about a year in 1938 and 1939 before returning to Canada where he continued wrestling until 1957. A strong swimmer, his stated ambition was to swim the English Channel.
Wrestler Tony Kolokotroni worked the independent rings of southern England in the 1960s. At other times, as Tony Ellis, he worked behind the scenes as a fight arranger on numerous films and acted on tv as a supporting role actor in programmes that included The Avengers and Coronation Street. Tony Ellis also staged wrestling shows, mainly in London, featuring big names such as Count Bartelli in aid of charities for those facing difficulties in society.