L: London - Lyons


Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Jack London

Born in West Hartlepool as John George Harper he took his ring name from Jack London, an American author, and  made his professional boxing debut in January, 1931.  Said to have never been a stylish fighter, and not one of the crowd’s favourites London did box some quality international opponents with some success.  In September, 1944,  he outpointed Freddie Mills to win the British and Commonwealth heavyweight championship. He lost the title in July, 1945, knocked out by Bruce Woodcock.

Jack London  fought his last boxing match in 1949. Three years later he was back in the ring; a wrestling ring this time, and fought a number of boxer v wrestler contests in 1952. This adventure lasted for only a short time until the ex boxer took up club management, re-locating to Blackpool where he had been based whilst serving in the army.  He was the father of another British heavyweight champion, Brian London. 

Chris Londos (Also known as Young Londos)

A young Chris Londos emerged onto the British wrestling scene in the mid 1930s, and he was set to become a permanent fixture in British and European rings for more than twenty years. His clever, scientific style made him a popular figure in Britain and continental Europe. Nephew of American World Heavyweight Champion Jim Londos newcomer Chris had the sort of youthful appearance and athletic build that led to an inevitable billing as “Young Londos, the Modern Hercules.”  

Initially facing other preliminary workers  the calibre of Chris's opponents had increased  dramatically by the late 1930s when he was in combat with the best wrestlers of the day – Harold Angus, Norman Morrell and Jack Dale.  A report of a contest with Harold Angus in 1938 shows just how the youngster had progressed in such a short time. Inevitably appearances were severely curtailed during the war years until Chris re-emerged against the best of the post war welterweights, Jack Dempsey, Cliff Beaumont and Alan Colbeck. 

By the early 1950s Chris was recognised as  European welterweight champion until narrowly losing it to British champion Alan Colbeck in December, 1951. Londos was leading the British champion until an unfortunate back injury robbed him of the belt. A good man could not be kept down, and in the return contest, again at Dundee's Caird Hall, Londos took the title for a second time when newspapers reported him “A worthy winner.”  Amongst  his  Royal Albert Hall matches are included a win over Mick McManus in April, 1953, an Atholl Oakeley Promotion. Following that he began working exclusively for Joint Promotions, usually Dale Martin, and returned to the Royal Albert Hall in 1956 to defeat Cyril Knowles. He faded from the British wrestling scene a couple of years later.

As an aside we can tell you that Chris's famous uncle, Jim Londos, was also born Christos, and in his early career was also known as Chris Londos.

Jim Londos
Golden Greek and former World heavyweight champion Jim Londos came to Britain on 26th October, 1937, to wrestle George Pencheff in a match described as "Catch as Catch Can," and decidedly not "All In." The Daily Mirror reported a clean and gruelling contest following which barefooted victor, Londos, was carried shoulder high back to the dressing room. In what is believed to be his only other match outside of London Londos defeated Jack Pye at Liverpool Stadium, a match promoted by William Bankier.

George Longdon (Also known as Harry Longdon)

Nottingham's George Longdon  trained under Jack Taylor. He was a very fit and muscular heavyweight.  Brave too.  Another of Taylor's wrestlers, Al Tarzo, told us of the night that Bert Assirati's opponent refused to go in with the Islington Hercules. “Harry  volunteered to go on and saved the day for Jack. After the fight the dressing room door opened and George walked in. His nose was flat on his face which was covered in blood. His first words were "I conthider that an honour to have fought Bert Atherati.", He really meant it but his injuries meant he was unable to say it.”

Les Lonsdale

Les Lonsdale trained with Dave Parfait and wrestled mainly in the North East from 1973  and into the 1980s, working for promoters Cyril Knowles, Don Robinson, and George deRelwyskow amongst others.

Brian Lord
An unfortunate motor cycle crash brought the wrestling aspirations to an end almost as soon as he had started. Born in Skegness Brian moved to Peterborough where he worked on the railways. Each week he travelled to Skegness on his motorbike to visit his parents who worked at Butlins holiday camp. It was here that he performed the duties of a second and  met wrestler Romeo Joe Critchley. Joe taught Brian to wrestle and in 1967 he worked for Wryton Promotions, with matches against Jeff Kaye, Terry Downs and Romeo Joe. No sooner was he getting into the business than a serious injury in a motorcycle accident led to retirement after just eight matches.

Dennis Lord

Dennis Lord has swapped the world of weird and colourful characters of the wrestling ring with the equally weird and colourful characters of his 007 roadshow, which features Bond movie lookalikes available for hire. Dennis hadn’t planned a life as a professional wrestler, nor as the lookalike Bond villain Jaws come to that. Events just seemed to transpire which brought him to work in Ron Taylor’s wrestling booth. It was a demanding start to a wrestling career, taking on challengers from around the country, numerous bouts a night and never being quite sure what lay around the corner. He was in good company, learning the trade alongside Big Pat Roach amongst others, and has many happy memories of those early days. With experience under his belt Dennis was persuaded to try his hand in the professional ring, a career that was to last the best part of a decade. He was an immediate success and soon began to gain regular work on the independent circuit. Fans loved him in fast, technical bouts, but seemed to like it even more when he gave away weight to tackle some of the best villains on the independent circuit, the Wildman of Borneo, Klondyke Bill and Doctor Death amongst them. Stardom always seemed on the horizon, but Dennis’ aspirations were shattered when a serious road accident in 1976 brought a sudden end to his wrestling career. By now wrestling was in his blood and when Dennis recovered he returned to the business as a promoter, putting on quality shows around the country. Invariably crowds began to fall away, a sign of the times, and Dennis re-considered his business opportunities. He decided to move further into the entertainment business, assembling a group of characters you’d probably prefer not to meet on a dark night, and started an 007 roadshow of Bond lookalikes.

Lolita Loren

The second Lolita,who took over the role from Ann Barton. One of Cowboy Jack Cassidy’s wrestling daughters Chrissie Thompson weighed a  mere 10 stone and was only 5.1”tall. Nevertheless she was a ferocious opponent regularly tagging with Klondyke Kate. She began wrestling aged 14 and originally appeared dressed in army gear under the name Anglo Spitfire. She won a British title aged 32 and, a top class villain,  defended it for the next 15 years until her retirement aged 47. After she retired she trained as a chef working in Wilmslow. She died age 59 in January 2012. Although she had been suffering from lung cancer during her illness she continued to raise money for charity until her death.
Contributed by James Morton

Tommy Lorne 

Leicestershire villain came onto the scene in the late 1970s. A man who dressed to impress, adorned in leathers and studs as one half of the Rockers tag team alongside Pete Lapaque. They were everything that the Royal Brothers were not, and consequently the fans booed and jeered them, usually towards disqualification.

Villainy did not make Tommy and his partner and less popular and they became well known nationwide as they made almost a dozen television appearances in the 1980s. 

Tragedy struck in 1986. Returning from a show in Holmbeach Tommy  and tag partner Pete were involved in a serious car crash. Pete suffered serious injuries and Tommy was  killed.

Bob Lortie
Montreal’s Bob Lortie was the younger of the Lortie brothers and wrestled for a short time in Britain during November, 1937. 

Paul Lortie
Billed from France, a thrilling French Ace no less,  but actually from Montreal, Canada,  heavyweight Paul Lortie worked in Britain between 1935 and 1939 against top men such as Bert Mansfield and Jack Sherry. Whilst in Britain he was featured in an exhibition of wrestling with Mike Demitre broadcast on television in 1939. He was the elder of the Lortie brothers, and found greater success than brother Bob.  Paul Lortie died on 14th April, 1953 at the untimely age of just 38. 

Roberto Lothario

Visiting Panamanian heavyweight during 1970-71 certainly looked the part but had a mixed bag of results against top British stars. Went down to Tibor Szakacs, as most did, wins over Johnny Czeslaw, Bobby Graham and Mike Powers, but often came unstuck against fully blown heavies of distinction such as Albert Wall, Steve Veidor, Gwyn Davies and Bruno Elrington. Challenged Mike Marino for the World mid heavyweight belt, losing by two straight falls in Halifax.

Paul Luty (Also known as Nobby Garside)

The bruising 1960s Yorkshire heavyweight could work a crowd, regularly wrestled throughout Britain and Europe but never made it to the top of the bill status.  We remember the blond haired leotarded grappler as a good villain who specialised in skulduggery and thuggery, much to the delight of the fans.   He capitalised on his wrestling fame and successfully found roles in television sitcoms and films, mostly remembered for his role as club steward Nobby Garside in the "Love Thy Neighbour" comedy. "Love Thy Neighbour," now deemed politically incorrect, was at the time one of Britain's leading situation comedies. Luty found his way from wrestling into acting through actor and writer. Colin Welland, who gave him his first acting role in "Kisses at 50."  In a moment of fiction turning into reality the promoter Max Crabtree had the bright idea of re-naming wrestler Luty as Nobby Garside, his fictional television character.   

Duke Lynch

In the 1950s Duke Lynch was a useful wrestler working around the north of England, a win over Arthur Beaumont at Belle Vue gives testimony to that.  Heritage member Ray Noble asked, “What happened to Duke Lynch? I used to see see him at Manchester School of Building in the 50s when he was an apprentice bricklayer and I was an apprentice plumber. We called him slim but not to his face. The last time I saw him wrestle was at the Whaley Bridge Drill Hall about 1957.” We do know that Duke moved across to the independents in 1957 and our last recorded match for him is in Wolverhampton in 1961.

Page revised 14/12/2020 Jim Londos added

31/05/2020 Lolita Loren added