T: Randolph Turpin
One of the saddest stories in sport generally and wrestling in particular is that of Randolph Turpin one time middleweight boxing champion of the world. He turned professional wrestler in January 1961 defeating Frankie Hughes in a boxer v wrestler contest at the Paisley Ice Rink.A left hook as Hughes released a hold on the referee's orders put paid to the wrestler's chances. His fame made him an immediate attraction in both boxer versus wrestler contests and traditional wrestling matches and his place at the top of the bill was assured. Randolph came to London to knock out Leon Arras at the Poplar Baths in a joint top of the bill with Quasimodo and Dr Death whom he later boxed wearing pillow gloves. Other opponents included Gori Ed Mangotich, Hans Streiger, Bill Tunney, Cyril Knowles and Gordon Corbett whom he also boxed on unlicensed shows.
He was lured away from Matsport and acquired a manager who at a time when referees received 30 shillings a night demanded £10 a night to referee if Turpin was working. Randolph was in demand and travelled around the country working for many of the independent promoters.
Having beaten all opposition wearing his gloves Randy then took them off and began wrestling conventionally. His name continued to draw the crowds for a year or two but he had been taught the bare minimum as a wrestler and as he could not or did not wish to learn more the novelty of him faded. Paul Lincoln took him as a boxer to Malta and Orig Williams toured Ireland with him but he had taken too many head shots in the boxing ring and, as he became increasingly forgetful and unreliable, work dried up. He had been made bankrupt as a boxer and he managed his finances no better as a wrestler being made bankrupt a second time. He last worked in 1965. On 17 May 1966 he was found dead in his home in Leamington Spa
Page reviewed 29/05/2022