S: Stuart - Svajick
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
Real-life fire-fighter, deep-sea-diver and budgerigar-breeder, Pretty Boy Stuart was a Gravesend mid-heavyweight who appeared on the Dale Martin scene mid-seventies and proved adaptable to any opponent. Prior to that he had worked for independent promoters and on the fairground booths. Particularly skilled at allowing the aged Les Kellett to shine in spite of deteriorated timing. Tagged with any villain going, the only consistency being alongside Steve Haggetty in the Blond Bombers. We got upset as sloppy emcees called him Mal, but his wrestling by any name could enliven any bill. Continued wrestling until well into the twenty-first century.
Barefooted and bearded Japanese heavyweight Thunder Sugiyama made a fifteen day visit to the northern England in May 1969. Inside that fortnight he made two television appearances, defeating Henri Pierlot and Roy Bull Davis. Opposition to the talented Jap was first rate; draws against Mike Marino and Kendo Nagasaki, and disqualification losses against Albert Wall John Cox. At the age of 24 Tsuneharu Sugiyama had represented Japan in the Greco-Roman heavyweight championship. Shortly afterwards he turned professional, using the name Tokyo Joe, and should not be confused with later American Tokyo Joe's. His partnership with Giant Baba and speciality "thunder and lightning drop" made him a big name on the American scene. Following his wrestling career he became a television personality appearing on tv and in films. He died of heart failure on 22nd November, 2002, aged 62.
Mickey Sullivan is remembered by fans as one of the best wrestlers of the latter Mountevans years. On numerous occasions discussions of the most under rated wrestlers have included Mickey's name. Mickey trained in Portsmouth at the gym of Big Bruno Elrington, alongside his friend and mentor Danny Quinn and John Kowalski. He turned professional in the late 1960s, initially working for the independent promoters. In the 1970s he was a popular worker for top promoters such as Jackie Pallo and Independent Joint Promotions, against top class opposition that included Tony Scarlo, Jon Cortez and Al Miquet. Mickey went on to work for Joint Promotions, most famously losing to Steve Grey at the Royal Albert Hall in September, 1981 and wrestling in Zimbabwe.
From Chorley in Lancashire Johnny Summers claimed the World Flyweight Championship in the 1930s. He must have been a pretty tough fighter to have made his way in the all-in rings of the 1930s against men who were usually much heacier than himself. Nowadays Johnny is mostly remembered as the opponent, and vanquisher, of Jeff Conda (later Count Bartelli) when he made his professional debut at the Broadway Palace, Chester, in June 1939. In “They Called Him The Count” Bartelli tells how Summers taught him a hard lesson that night in Chester.
In a sport that is full of larger than life characters few could have had a life larger than Butty Sugrue.Strongman, circus performer, wrestler, and not to forget that he was the promoter of the Muhammad Ali versus Al " Blue " Lewis boxing match in Croke Park in Dublin in July 1972.
Michael Butty Sugrue was certainly one of the most colourful Irishmen in London. His feats of strength were the stuff of legends and earned him the title of “Irelands Strongest Man.” In 1953 Butty wrestled The Gorgeous Gael, Jack Doyle, at Killorglin's Puck Fair in 1953.
After moving to London Butty became landlord of various pubs such as the Admiral Nelson in Kilburn and the Wellington in Shepherd’s Bush. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he wrestled for independent promoters in London and the south. Butty had a talent for self promotion – a quick internet search will reveal photos of him lifting a chair with his teeth (with a woman sat on it!), mixing with film and sporting celebrities, and the time he persuaded one of his bar staff to live buried alive in a coffin for sixty-one days.
Butty Sugrue died in 1977, aged 53. Ironically for Ireland's strongest man, he died carrying a fridge up the stairs.
We remember Dai Sullivan in the latter part of his career when he was something of a heavyweight bruiser. Even so, his rugged style did not hide the fact that here was a skilful wrestler who could hold his own with the best, including World heavyweight champion, Lou Thesz, when the American toured Britain.
From his earliest days in the professional wrestling ring Dai had earned a reputation as an all-action, aggressive fighter. Born in Tonypandy in 1922 as Francis Morgan Dai was the son of a miner. Like all mining families times were hard, and none more so than during the 1926 General Strike. During the strike non mining families from around the country volunteered to look after the children of mining families. That was how, in 1926 it came about that four year old Dai was sent to live with a family in Doncaster.
As things turned out he stayed with the family and remained in Doncaster for the rest of his life. Like many other professional wrestlers Dai's first sporting interest was boxing, and he was an army champion before turning to wrestling whilst stationed at Chester and watching the shows at Liverpool Stadium. Trained by Charlie Glover Dai turned professional in the mid 1940s and we find his first documented contest in 1947, wrestling his mentor, Charlie.
During the following twenty years Dai wrestled all the big names in Britain until retiring in the late 1960s. "A non stop whirlwind," according to Dwight J Inglebergh.
Francis Sullivan (Frank Pollard)
Fast and furious Francis Sullivan was Wigan’s dropkick king for the best part of twenty years. A protege of Billy Riley and so the lad really did know the business. Five years grounding at Riley’s gym and in the fairground booths led to a very successful professional career in which he wrestled the best, from the technical skill of Ernie Riley to the memmoth masked Zebra Kid.
No one could accuse Francis of being one of those wrestlers who limited himself to working close to home; he travelled the length and breadth of the country. A study of his record shows Francis was almost a weekly fixture at Belle Vue soon after he turned professional in 1950. Not just Belle Vue, but a regular at those other big venues Liverpool Stadium and the New St James Hall, Newcastle.
Francis Sullivan continued as one of Britain's top mat men until his retirement in 1966. He died peacefully in hospital, on 6th June, 2009. He was eighty-four years old.
See the entry for Leon Fortuna
See the entry for Peter Roberts
Andreas Svajik (Janos Svadjek, Andreas Swajics, Anton Swasjics, Androz Zychich)
No wrestler had a greater variation for the spelling of his name than this lightening fast Hungarian born lightweight of some forty odd years ago. Whatever the arrangement of letters and consonants the youngster impressed on the many occasions we saw him. He was athletic and lightning fast, with his clean cut style at its best against other speed merchants like Johnny Saint, Ian St John and Maurice Hunter.
Andreas was Hungarian born and left his native country in the second half of the 1950s following the Hungarian revolution. He was already an experienced amateur wrestler when he left Hungary to set up home in Accrington, Lancashire. He gained employment as a fitter at the English Electric aircraft factory in nearby Clayton le Moors. With a desire to pursue his wrestling interests in the professional style he joined Bob Bannister's wrestling club. It was here that he met Ian St John, with whom he was to have a long series of scintillating bouts around the country. Andreas turned semi professional around 1961, working for independent promoters Bob Bannister, Cape Promotions and Jack Taylor.
Mostly associated with the independent promoters of the north and midlands, Andreas did work for Joint Promotions on occasions and partnered Zoltan Boscik when the pair lost to the Royal brothers in 1971.