WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

M: Mitchell - Mohammed

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

Guy Mitchell
No, not the Canadian, we had our own Guy Mitchell. Bradford light heavyweight of the 1950s and 1960s. He was no relation to the Mitchell wrestling family although promoters sometimes claimed otherwise. We were surprised to hear that Guy wrestled in Australia during 1969. Most of his matches were on the Sydney club circuit though we have heard of one high profile match on September 12h when he lost to Murphy the Magnificent (Maurice LaRue in the UK) at Sydney Stadium.  Australian wrestler John Marshall recalled him being a pleasure to work with.

Paul Mitchell
Our memories of Salford's Paul Mitchell go back to the mid to late 1960s when he was one of a group of favourites on the northern independent circuit alongside Eddie Rose, Johnny Saint,  Pete Lindberg, Ian Wilson and many others. In those days there were independent shows every night in Manchester alone, and so there was no shortage of opportunities for those with the skill. All those mentioned did have the skill, and each went on to work for Joint Promotions. Mitchell was invited to train at the Wryton Stadium, under  the guidance  of the Cadman brothers and Martin Conroy. Four years after turning professional  Conroy decided Mitchell deserved exposure on the Joint Promotions circuit and  he became a regular and popular figure on Best, Wryton and Atherton bills. The young middlewight combined skill with agility and  speed; his flying head scissors and monkey climbs being the best in the business.  Within a year he had made his television debut, drawing with another promising newcomer,  Dave Barrie. His second televised contest, in which he defeated highly rated Bobby Ryan, was a demonstration of Paul at his best. He went on to near a dozen more television outings, in the opposite corner to the biggest names in wrestling at the time, Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, and Steve Logan. Paul Michell also appeared in the January, 1973, special, Fanfare for Europe, recorded in our Armchair Corner section.
Related article:Wrestling Leads The Way
George Modrich
Beginning at the beginning, George Modrich was a man who was in at at the start. Readers of A Year In Wrestling - 1930 will know that Modrich wrestled George Boganski on 15th November, 1930, in an exhibition of the new style wrestling that was about to be unleashed on an unsuspecting British public. The following month Modrich was back once again, this time at the higher profile public launch of the "New Catch As Catch Can" style at the National Sporting Club, London. On December 15th he faced Henry Irslinger, losing to the veteran over three ten minute rounds.

Even these were not Modrich's earliest encounters in British rings. George Modrich was a Croatian born New Zealander with a background of ten years professional boxer, having arrived in Britain in February 1929 to make his British boxing debut. On 12th February, 1929, he had opposed Guardsman Charlie Penwill at Lime Grove Baths, which was later to become a regular professional wrestling venue. George knocked out Modrich in the second round but lost two further British boxing contests in 1929. 

George appears to have been a wrestler, turned boxer, and drawn back to wrestling at the time of the wrestling renaissance when his boxing career had peaked. We have found records of him wrestling in New Zealand as early as 1917, two years before his boxing debut at Auckland Town Hall. There is something of a mystery about his background. He is billed at times as a Croatian, Serbian and New Zealander, and manages to be champion of each country simultaneously! 

Add to that his name, George Crawford, and here we find a seventeen stone, super strong melting pot. 

Modrich was a world traveller, leaving England shortly after his 1930 debut, returning in the second half of the decade, always in competition with the top names of the day: Douglas Clark, Bert Assirati and Bill Garnon.
Fazal Mohammed  (Also known as Fazal the Flower)

A bearded Sikh described as a Herclean Indian the gigantic barefooted wrestler Fazal Mohammed claimed to weigh 22 stones and stand 6’3” tall when he arrived on the British scene in 1937. Even allowing for the excesses of promoters’ imaginations he was clearly a powerful man who was matched against top 1930s heavyweights Bert Mansfield, Dave Armstrong, Karl Pojello and World Champion Jack Sherry in a championship match at Nottingham in October, 1937. He was nicknamed “The Flower,” but we found little to warrant this name for a man with a tendency to toss referees across the ring. On his arrival in Britain he challenged Karl Pojello, who had recently defeated his brother, Daula Singh. In one report Fazal entered the ring and attacked Pojello, who was about to wrestle Henri Irslinger, and having pinned Pojello to the mat it took half a dozen officials several minutes to remove him.


Page revised 19/02/2020 Guy Mitchell entry revised,

 26/10/2019: Addition of Fazal Mohammed