WRESTLING HERITAGE

British wrestling history 

S: Sipos - Snyder


Wrestling Heritage A - Z


Steven Sipos
Hungarian welterweight appeared in British rings in 1961. Worked for Dale Martin Promotions with opponents that included Bob Archer O’Brien, Jackie Pallo, Ken Joyce and Mel Riss. Disappeared from British rings at the end of 1963.

Josef Ski
Here's a man who certainly deserves a place in the A-Z but about whom information is scarce. A bald headed middleweight/light heavyweight from Poland he appeared in Britain in the late 1950s. It's easy to understand why he chose to use the name Ski rather than his family name of Sceszepanski . 

At the time of coming to Britain he was already an experienced forty year old on mainland Europe, where he was particularly well known in Germany. On arrival in Britain in 1958 he unsuccessfully challenged Tommy Mann for the world middleweight championship. The match took place at the Music Hall, Aberdeen, and it was reported that Joe had the beating of Mann as far as skill was concerned. Mann changed to very aggressive tactics, finally overcoming the challenger in the tenth round. Mann was booed by the Aberdeen fans as the result was announced.

Josef went on to have a mixed bag of results against classy opponents such as Tony Lawrence, Harry Fields, Bert Royal and Mick McManus. The list could go on because he spent much of  the years between 1958 and 1962 working in Britain, facing just about all the middleweights and light heavies of note as he travelled throughout the country, with a further championship challenge against Tommy Mann and European welterweight champion Alan Colbeck. Following retirement from wrestling Josef took up refereeing in his adopted homeland of Germany.

Carlton Smith (Also known as Sanky Allan,Chameleon)
Delve back into wrestling history and the name Carlton Smith crops  up time and time again. Our earliest finding of Carlton is in October, 1937 at Doncaster. In the 1940s the so-called “Cock o' the North” seemed to be just about everywhere.  In His earliest days we have found him billed as Chameleon. Wartime opponents included Jack Harris, Ted Beresford , Norman Morrell and Frank Manto. Frank Manto! The mystery of this man's wrestling pedigree begins to reveal itself when we consider that Frank Manto was Frank Manterfield, brother of Bert Manterfield (otherwise Bert Mansfield) and Alan Manterfield, otherwise known as Carlton Smith.

Yes, Carlton Smith came from the same great wrestling family as Bert Mansfield and Frank Mantovich, and he clearly continued to learn from his brother Frank during the early days of his professional career. Carlton Smith, born in Barnsley in 1914,  was destined to become one of the top post war middleweights, considerably lighter than his brothers. Name any lighter weight wrestler you know from the 1950s and Carlton Smith (or his alter ego Sanky Allan) wrestled them and most likely beat them on occasions. His wrestling career continued until the end of the 1950s, we last spotted him in 1958.

Gordon Smith
Most Wrestling Heritage readers will remember Gordon Smith as one of the referees we saw on television when getting our weekly wrestling fix. In his early twenties Gordon wrestled  as a promising welterweight until turning to third man duties in 1960. A northern referee for Morell and Beresford Promotions the tall, slim figure of Gordon Smith moved niftily around the ring at a speed uncommon amongst many of his colleagues.  Dave Sutherland recalls seeing Gordon referee at the New St James Hall, particularly the time he devoted talking to a ringside youngster with learning difficulties. 

Everyone was agreed how smart Gordon Smith looked in the ring and he always had time for a word with the crowd outside the hall prior to the evening's matches, usually to discuss the day's football scores. Unfortunately the last time I saw Gordon he was carried from the ring having been knocked over  by two top heavyweights. Iit might have been Albert Wall and John Lees or two fellows of similar stature, who landed on top of him 

Gypsy  Smith
Gypsy Joe Smith was a 1960s/70s mid heavyweight from Northamptonhire, often remembered as a  serial masked man. Made a television appearance, as Gypsy Smith, against Alan Dennison in 1977.

Harry Smith 
1930s lightweight from Dewsbury, Harry Smith, was a body builder and rugby player known as The Pitmans Hercules. One of the early exponents of All-In, turning professional in 1931. Opponents included Jack Dale, Mario Magisti, Dick Wills and Carl Romsky, but most frequent opponent of all seems to have been Masutaro Otani, the Japanese wrestlers who came to Britain fresh from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. 

Harry's interest in wrestling was aroused when he joined Chickenley Weight Lifting Club. During the Second World War Harry taught unarmed combat to military and Home Guard personnel, was a physical training instructor for the Royal Navy and organised and wrestled in charity wrestling events. 

It was, however, in rugby league that Harry gained most of his fame,  a lifelong obsession with Rugby League that began when he joined Westborough Boys Club in 1920.  A long serving player, and later coach, for  Dewsbury Rugby League Football Club in 1966 a plaque in his honour was placed  above the entrance to main stand.  Harry  was honoured with life membership of the Dewsbury Rugby League and the Referees’ Society 

Harvey Smith
It's true. The world famous show jumping champion  Harvey Smith  made it into our wrestling rings in the 1970s. And he wasn't bad. At least the fans apreciated him., entering the ring wearing a large  "V" on the back of his velvet robe, a reference to an incident of some notoriety during his show jumping days. . A frequent opponent of Peter Kaye, Harvey would ride him cowboy as though it was the Horse of the Year Show! Another famous opponent was Jackie  Pallo.   Following a match between the two colourful characters at Blackburn Harvey was left nursing a black eye. The national press loved it, with stories vowing Harvey’s promised revenge. It wasn’t just the press that loved it. Harvey too relished the moment according to Pallo’s son, Jackie Junior.

Although we do not generally  favour others cashing in on their personality status by taking up wrestling Harvey did seem to have the guts, strength and character to make him a worthwhile addition to our rings. 

Hurricane Smith
Known as a bit of a tough 'un, to both fans and co-workers,  Hurricane Len Smith worked for the independent promoters of  northern England in the 1960s and 1970s. . 

Hurricane took up amateur wrestling in 1960, a student at the Leeds Amateur Wrestling Club. Learning how to fall correctly is one of the the first, and most important, lessons for any professional wrestler, but for Len Smith it was even more important than usual. Serving in the Green Howards Regiment Len had suffered a spinal injury, which made him more susceptible than most to further injury. A year later, in 1961, he began working professionally, initially for Cyril Knowles and later for other independent promoters in northern England like ACE Promotions and members of the British Wrestling Alliance.

Len recalled one particularly heated exchange when he and tag partner The Doc were facing The Diaboliques team of Judo Al Hollamby & Roger L Sandilands. “We played the crowd up that night big time. I put one of The Diaboliques' head over the ropes and shouted  to the crowds 'If you fancy your chances come and have a go.' The next thing all the audience were trying to get into the ring, and me and the Doc were running round trying to keep them out. They wanted to lynch us.”

Len worked mainly around the north for twelve years, until tragedy struck.  In 1972 he fell awkwardly and the old army injury recurred. He was never to wrestle again. 

Hurricane Smith was in good health and living in Leeds when we last heard from the Hurricane in October, 2012.

Peter Smith
Our entry for Peter Smith is minimalistic to say the least, little more than a plea to find out more about this wrestler who we felt deserved greater attention. Our knowledge is no more than a memory of a wiry lightweight from Newark, who worked for the independent promoters in the 1960s and 1970s. We  first came across Pete Smith on a bill in Spilsby in 1961 and during the 1960s working mostly for Jack Taylor, which leads us to think he may have been a member of Taylor's stable of wrestlers. Reports say that he was cast in the mould of George Kidd.  In 1970 Pete won an independents version of the European Lightweight championship (independent promoters) when he defeated Tony Cortez in one of his local halls, the Sports Centre at Balderton. Then he disappeared from our radar. We would like to know more.

Saxon Smith 
An old timer who was "A right tough un.". That was Wigan's heavyweight Ernie "Saxon" Smith according to fellow heavyweight Dwight J Ingleburgh. Saxon was a first class heavyweight facing other hard men such as Jack Beaumont, Jim Foy and Count Bartelli. British heavyweight champion of some independent rings in the early 1960s.  Ernie was a very strong man who Sam Betts remembers could pick up an opponent and repeatedly  lift him up and down in the  air. He retired from the ring in 1964, but remained involved as a referee and promoting shows with Buddy Ward.

Gerda Snyder
Gerda Snyder was a talented female wrestler who worked for independent promoters, mostly Jack Taylor, in the 1960s. She was the sister of wrestler Chris McManus.

Page revised 16/05/19: Revision of Davey Boy Smith entry