M: Mantopolous - Maximiliano

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Vassilios Mantopolous
The hugely popular Greek lightweight champion made his first visit to Britain in 1960 for the independent promoters. Now stop right there those of you that still undervalue the independents. How can you after everything you have read on Wrestling Heritage?  In those days working for the independents were class acts that included George Kidd, Eddie Capelli and Eric Sands, and developing stars Zoltan Boscik, Jon Cortez and Peter Rann. All were opponents of the young Greek who visited our shores, with some spectacular matches against Kidd and Joyce around the south of England. 

In December 1961 Dale Martin realised what they were missing out on and brought the flashy high flying lightweight over to Joint Promotions.  A Royal Albert Hall debut followed in January 1962 with a win over Jim Breaks, though a 1963 outing against Mick McManus at the Kensington venue was less rewarding. For the Greek. 

Vassilios remained a regular fixture in British rings until 1965. He made further short tours in April 1969, dutifully going down to Jackie Pallo at the Royal Albert Hall, and returned to the same glamorous venue in May 1971 to partner Monsieur Montreal and draw with the Hells Angels.

Marcel Manuel
We have ten matches recorded for this heavyweight  between June and October, 1946, all of them at Belle Vue, Manchester. Opponents included Charlie Green, Sonny Wallis and Ernie Baldwin.

Tony Manzi
Tony Manzi was a light heavyweight for whom we have found three or four years activity from 1947. Described as a light heavyweight with a judo and Royal Navy background opponents included Charlie Fisher, Norman Thomas and Milo Popocopolis. Our belief that he was a genuine Italian is based on our finding in 1986 Backhill, an Italian community magazine  said that ex wrestler Tony Manzi was running a gym in Mount Pleasant, Islington, and was the masseur and osteopath for the Coach and Horses F.C., also in Islington. Ron Historyo  checked the name and found it was a real name with three or four people of that name in the country. Seemingly all Londoners.  Ron said, "Of the candidates there is one born in 1918 who was not born here and very clear his  father Luigi was Italian. Dad and son were hairdressers. Pure guesswork though."

Apart from wrestling Manzi was also an hypnotist. Extraordinary spectacles were reported of Manzi selecting members of the wrestling audience, fourteen on one occasion, and hypnotising them.  Another report states that Manxi, who weighed fourteen stones, selected one slim subject, suspended him by head and feet between two chairs and then sat on his stomach whilst raising both his feet clear of the  ground.

Manie Maritz
One of his country's top wrestlers, and equally famous as a  political activist in his native South Africa, Manie Marits was the son of General Gerrit Maritz who played an important role in the Boer War.  

Manie visited Britain in the spring of 1948, encountering opponents that included Tony Mancelli, Flash Barker and Mike Delaney.

Manie Maritz died on 19th April, 2018.

Gypsy Gino Marlow
Standing well over six feet tall Gino was billed as champion of the gypsies in the 1930s. Tangled with other supersized heavyweights such as Scot John Bell and Exmoor's Carver Doone. A rough and energetic fighter in one match against Jack Pye he dashed from his corner at the opening bell grabbed Pye and took the first fall in the opening seconds.

Jose Enrico Marques 
The high flying dropkick specialist from Madrid toured Britain frequently during the late 1950s  and  1960s. We first discover him during a 1958 visit, working around the country against the likes of Johnny Kwango, Chic Purvey, Jack Dempsey and George Kidd. Highlight of the tour was, no doubt, an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall with Mick McManus in the opposite corner.  He was back to Britain in 1960 and each year until 1967, filling out until he was tackling fully blown heavyweights.  He gained nationwide admirers during his 1962 television clash with Dai Sullivan in 1962, considered unlucky by viewers to go down by the odd fall.  A tall dark heavyweight with a pleasing technical style he won lots of fans even if he didn't win lots of matches.

Clive Marshall
A protege of Brian Trevors East Anglian Clive Marshall worked for both the independent and Dale Martin Promotions in the second  half of the 1970s. He was followed into the wrestling business by his daughter, who wrestled as Little Lulu.

Viv Martell
Often billed as "The Sex Symbol" Vivacious Viv was possibley the biggest attraction in womens wrestling in the 1970's. Viv featured in an article in Penthouse Magazine ... No she didn't take her clothes off.Appearing all over the British Isles for various promoters, including Orig Williams,Brian Dixon,and Graham Brook, Viv was normally the "villain".

Her opponents included Mitzi Mueller, Lena Blair, Blackfoot Sioux etc, and in 1977 she took on and beat Dave Stalford in an inter-gender Match in Belfast. (Link below)

Viv was actually a pretty good wrestler ,reportedly Brian Dixon told her to "go easy" on Mitzi and not hurt her.Sadly she passed away on 4th January 2020.

Thanks to Bill Smith
Brett Martin
Martin Burdett was another of the Jack Taylor lads who was trained by the Accrington born promoter at his gym in Leicestershire, changing his name to the American sounding Brett Martin. Worked for the independent promoters from the mid 1960s and retired in the early 1980s.

Jack Martin (Also known as Al Martin, Buster Martin)
The Wrexham tearaway who rarely bothered with niceties but gave a great mid-heavyweight villain's performance unfailingly every time.  Here was a man who really looked as though he wanted to win. Billed as Jack Martin in the north and Al Martin at other times, be him Jack, Al, Buster or Rough House Wrestling Heritage members have fond memories, “One of the real unsung heroes,  a most convincing villain," recalled Frank Thomas.  Graham Brooks: "I saw "Roughouse" Al Martin (as I recall him being billed) on various occasions and he had some great bouts with Les Kellett in particular." 

He was a long time independent stalwart with a successful Joint Promotions run in the early seventies and even a couple of Royal Albert Hall appearances to his name.  Another great favourite of ours. 

Tagged unusually with Keith Martinelli in The Martinis, a pairing forced through by name rather than style.  A regular and ideal television and halls opponent of Masambula and Les Kellett.  

Al Martinelli
Heavyweight Allen Martin from Castleford in Yorkshire, was a burly 16 stoner who could certainly looke after himself in the ring. Professionally he was known as Al Martinelli and  worked for independent promoters. His father, also Allen, was a referee  and ring man for promoter Cyril Knowles.

Rudo Martinez
Colombian heavyweight Rudo Martinez  worked for Dale Martin Promotions in the autumn of 1965 with an undistinguished record against domestic opposition that included Johnny Czeslaw, Ray Fury and more powerful forces such as Gordon Nelson

Ivar Martinsen
The Danish heavyweight, and one time European Heavyweight champion,  is best remembered for wrestling his way through to the  final of the World Heavyweight Championship tournament held at Harringay in 1947. In the final, held on March 4th 1947, he lost by a KO to Britain’s Bert Assirati, in a bout refereed by Lou Marco. On the way to the final he had beaten Phil Siki, Karl Reginsky and Bert Mansfield. Martinsen In the return contest, fought in Paris  in October of the same year, Martinsen took the title from Assirati. In 1952 Ivar defeated Felix Miquet to claim the European version of the World Heavyweight Championship. He is said to have taken part in the first ever tag match in France, around 1955, partnering Francois Miquet against Eddie Brush and Jack Wentworth. Ivar Martinsen passed away on 22nd July, 1975.

Ed Martinson
 Billed as the  “Dockland’s strong boy” 1950s and  1960s heavyweight working for independent promoters mainly in the south and midlands of England. Opponents included top opposition men such as Tiger Ed Bright, Mike Demitre and Ron Harrison.

Masked Marvel
Ah, the Masked Marvel. There were so many of them over the years, one of them was a driver on our local buses in the 1960s! We wouldn't know where to begin (or end), but it is certainly a name with a place in Britain's wrestling heritage. Wrestling historian Charles Mascall claimed to have known at least thirty of them. The earliest Masked Marvel we have come across was wrestling at the London Sports Club in January, 1932.

Masked Viking
We have other Vikings but only one Masked Viking. A man wearing a mask dressed in a lot of fur and wielding a big double sided axe. Don't forget  the cow horn sided metal helmet. Did quite a bit of grunting too. A marauding northern European character yet not as northern as his mystique suggested. Beneath the mask was Tom Campbell, a Spartan Promotions favourite from the Mossblown gym in Mossblown, near Ayr.
Mario Matassa

Mario Matassa was billed as Belgian heavyweight champion on his first British visit in 1948. We believe he lived in Belgium though had been born in Genoa, Italy, where his family owned an ice cream shop. From 1951 he returned just about every year until 1962, now Italian heavyweight champion with wins over top class opposition such as Joe Cornelius, Frank Manto and Mike Marino.

Magnificent Maurice (Also known as Colonel Brody)
The name may not have been an original, and we should not confuse this gentleman with the extrovert we read about in those 1960s American magazines that eventually made their way into our newsagents. 

In the 1980s the British version of Magnificent Maurice was an impressive figure as he stood shaven headed. moustachioed and totooed centre ring. Here was a man who knew how to upset the punters; not just by disregarding the rules but by his ring presence and camp gimmick.  Strutting around the ring, taunting his opponent and jeering at the audience, let alone his rule bending tendencies,  led to him being hated by fans throughout the world.

Steve Regal (William Regal) praises the colourful character who was his first professional opponent. The villainous heavyweight was solid northern.  His name was Shaun Arnott, a bricklayer by trade, and he went on to wrestling reincarnation as Colonel Brody, the shaven headed bad boy of the 1980s heavyweight scene.

Whilst the shaven head and the handlebar moustache remained the same the distinguished military figure of  Colonel Brody was a stark contrast with the camp Magnificent Maurice, but none the more popular. 

Gomez Maximiliano
We think we are safe to say that back in the 1960s most wrestling fans knew very little about the distant land of Peru. They did know a powerful  man with long black curly hair who went by the name Gomez Maximiliano, or Ernesto Conde Maximiliano to give him his family name.  By the time he set foot in Britain, his first visit being in 1961, he had left Peru and set up home in Spain. 

It was from here that he made his annual 1960s jaunts to Britain to rough it with our top heavyweights, almost always for Dale Martin Promotions. A sturdy sixteen stoner, with his long straggly hair reaching halfway down his back, Maximiliano was a colourful addition to British rings. By the end of 1961 he was known to television fans and had beaten Johnny Yearsley at the Royal Albert Hall. No one was safe – Earl Maynard, Gordon Nelson and Joe Cornelius all went down to the wild Peruvian on occasions; though promoters used him increasingly as target practice for domestic talent from 1965 onwards. 

Visits to Britain were often alongside appearances in the major tournaments held in Austria and Germany.  Gomez Maximiliano was last seen wrestling in Britain in 1967. We are told he moved to Vienna where he lived until his death.