S: Swan - Szalay
Wrestling Heritage A-Z
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.
16/08/2020: Steve Szalay added