British wrestling history 

M: Milla - Minissini

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Stefan Milla
The popular welterweight was forever associated with Copenhagen because that's what the programmes told us, but he had moved to Bootle when he was just two years old. 
The blond curly hair that seemed to forever give a youthful appearance meant that Stefan could never be anything but a good guy. He was a fast technical wrestler who  turned professional in 1950, an early date that will surprise many. He  worked from the very beginning for Joint Promotions when they formed in 1952. That first match, against Bill Hargreaves, resulted in an injury that put him out of action for a month. In 1954 Stefan held Jack Dempsey to a draw in a title clash. When wrestling entered our living rooms through television Stefan proved himself a favourite with the viewers.  We last came across him in 1975, taking a group of wrestlers to Poland, Sadly he died in 2008.
Big Ian Miller
Ian Miller learned  the wrestling business from the age of  just twelve at Spartan Promotion's gym in the mining village of Mossblown near Ayr, Scotland.  Four years later he turned professional when he was only  sixteen years old.  Promoters billed the youngster  as "Big" Ian Miller simply because he was always tall for his age, even as a teenager. At the time of his professional debut he was  Started was a welterweight and gradually filled out  to light heavyweight. One of his very early bouts was against Keith Martinelli for Joint Promotions, in the Drill Hall Dumfries. Needless to say Keith (known amongst the fraternity as blood boots) was up to his usual tricks and claret flowed. But the youngster calling on his amateur training went over two to one, no mean feat given that  (Keith Martinelli) was one of Bolton's finest and the sports toughest! Latterly Ian worked mainly for the Independents where he held the Scottish Title at middleweight for a few years. Going on to share the mat and learn from, such greats as Eddie Rose, Mark Wayne Joe Critchley and Ezra Francis. Probably his finest hour was a narrow defeat at the hands of the lighter and vastly most experienced Jackie "Mr TV Pallo" in Hamilton Town Hall in the 1979. Another of his career highlights was when he and regular Tag Team partner Dale Storm, took the Scottish Title from the then holders, The Fabulous Harlequins, in Elgin Town Hall. Some say this contest was one of the finest four man examples of true, classical wrestling ever staged anywhere in the UK. Ian Miller was one of the first to see that the writing was already on the wall for ITV's World of Sport, and the future of the grappling game in general, in the early 80's. So jumping ship, he swapped the limelight for firelight, by pursuing a successful career in the Strathclyde Fire Service!
Mick Millman
Warrington heavyweight Mick Millman turned professional during the Second World War and was involved in the wrestling business for thirty years. A skilful wrestler he moved up through the weights from middleweight to heavyweight, tangling with the likes of Bill McDonald, Jan Brouwers, a regular at Belle Vue, Manchester. When not wrestling Mick plied his trade as a joiner around Cheshire. He began to reduce his wrestling commitments in the late 1950s but could still occasionally be seen in action until the mid 1960s. Mick was also responsible for training 1960s Warrington favourite Mike Dallas.

Johnny (Young) Milo

One of three Greek born London based brothers, Johnny was the youngest sibling of Milo Popocopolis, and Tommy Milo. Sometimes billed as Young Milo in the late 1950s and early 1960s this name was also used by the eldest, Milo Popocoplis, at times in his youth. When not wrestling Johnny and brother Tommy ran a Mexican restaurant, The Acapulco.

Tommy Milo (Photo left)

Another “Golden Greek” of the 1950s and 1960s, this one was London restaurateur Tommy Milo. In 1953 Tommy and brother Johnny opened the Acapulco Coffee Bar in Hanway Street, London. Tommy was the brother of Milo Popocoplolis and Johnny Milo. Last seen in the rings of Paul Lincoln Management.

“A nice bloke, always good for a shilling when I was a kid,” remembers Alan Green.

Leon Minissini

French heavyweight made a short visit to Britain in February 1956 to face the likes of Mike Marino, Dai Sullivan and Reg Williams