S: Summers - Szalay

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

Johnny Summers
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.

Sheik Cas El Suri
There have been numerous Sheiks in British wrestling down the years and distinguishing between them can be problematic.We have to rely on The Wrestle rmagazine for information about Sheik Cas El Sori, a source not always known for complete accuracy. They reported that the Sheik had been born in the Lebanon in 1935, coming to Britain in childhood. The magazine reported a boxing and judo background and only turned full time professional at the beginning of 1964.
Olaf Svenson
We have found eighteen matches for this heavyweight billed from Sweden, all for Wryton Promotions, and seventeen of them in Hanley. The other was at Willenhall. Opponents included Count Bartelli, Bill Benny, Sam Burmister, and Mike Marino. So he sounds like a big man who could work with the best. Not to be confused with an American of this name.

Josef Szabo
Joe was a Hungarian refugee from the same uprising that saw Tibor and Peter Szakacs  arrive in the UK. He had amateur experience in Hungary and turned professional in this country mainly to supplement his income as a swimming instructor and baths manager.

He lived in Levenshulme, Manchester quite close to Jack Atherton, Grant Foderingham and several other wrestlers. He trained at various gyms including Panther's gym.

He wrestled as a middleweight but would take on all comers regardless. His opponents included Billy Graham, Mad Mike Mahoney, Jimmy Lewis, Ian "Mad Dog" Wilson, Roy Fortuna, Eddie Rose and Pete Lindberg. He worked mainly
for the Independent promoters rather than Joint Promotions.

Later he tried his hand at promoting with mixed results. He could go from a full-house one night to an empty one the next and eventually this ebullient, good humoured wrestler decided to call quits on the wrestling scene and concentrate on leisure management. He left the Manchester area in the late '70s, address unknown but rumoured to be in the south Midlands.

Steve Szalay (Satay Szalay)
In an age when wrestling matches were often brutal affairs with two men paying little regard to the rules and the authority of the referee Steve Szalay made a refreshing change. He was a scientific, lightning fast lightweight whose skill was appreciated by fans.

Hungarian Steve Szalay arrived on the British wrestling scene in 1936. When he wrestled Jim Maloney at Portsmouth on 1st October promoter John Mortimer said he was eighteen years old and this was his first appearance in England. It was reported that Szalay outclassed Maloney and went on to defeat him by two falls to nil in six rounds. Steve was a very skilled wrestler, his contest against Harry Rabin at Derby in 1937 proclaimed the best bout seen at the hall without any of the unpleasant occurrences that marred most bouts. Similar acclaim followed his match with Juan Lopez in Chelmsford, won by Steve by two falls to one.

Our records of Steve suggest he left Britain in September, 1937, returning in March 1938 for the year until May, 1939. Opponents including Harold Angus, Norman Morrell and George DeRelwyskow. Following the Second World War Steve returned to Britain in 1947 and 1948, this time meeting a number of youngsters who were to go on to become Britain’s top stars, Mick McManus, Eddie Capelli and Tommy Mann amongst them.