British wrestling history 

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A: Abbot - Acron

Wrestling Heritage A-Z

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Bob Abbott (Brian Abbott, Mick Abbott, Leno Larazi)

When Mike Marino returned to Joint Promotion rings in 1966 the independents offered another Anglo Italian mid heavyweight who was claimed to be the equal of Marino, Leno Larazzi, or more usually known by his family name of Abbott. 

The publicity machinery of the time proclaimed the credentials of the Italian hearthrob who wasn't quite what he appeared, but then this was wrestling!

Whilst the alleged geographical credentials of Leno Larazzi may have matched Londoner Marino’s the wrestling ability fell some way short. Larazzi was, in fact, Nottingham’s Bob Abbott, who was to become a tall, lean popular heavyweight of the 1970s on the independent promoters circuit and later for Joint Promotions.

He met most of the big names but never reached top status himself. But then that misses the point. Pro wrestling was all about the combined efforts of all those involved to provide a good evenings entertainment for the fans. The real stars were the undercards like Bob Abbott, the stars who made the stars look so good.

He was not so popular when he sometimes wrestled  as one half of a masked tag team who made an impact on both the independent and northern Joint Promotions circuit.  

Brian Abbott died in October, 2003.

Abdul the Turk (Ali the Wicked)

Wrestling has never been short of colourful characters from around the globe.

Abdul the Turks have appeared on professional wrestling bills from the 1900s to 1990s. Individuals with varying styles and skills, some from closer to Torquay than Turkey. 

The most famous Abdul of them all came on to the British wrestling scene early in 1947. At least that's what fans were led to believe. In reality Abdul the Turk had seemingly manifested himself a decade earlier under the persona of Ali the Wicked. 

Bernard Hughes recalls: "I remember  Abdul the Turk  doing his prayer mat thing and Jack Pye standing in the other corner watching. As Abdul got on the upswing with his arms Jack ran across the ring and kicked the prayer mat out of the ring. That started an unholy brawl which involved the two men and referee Les Kellett between them, trying to make them go to their corners.
Les signalled to the timekeeper up in the box to ring the bell and the fight started from where they were at that time. Abdul's favourite move seemed to be to allow his opponent to get him in a headlock, then he proceeded to lift the other man from the floor and to smash the opponent's back across his bended knee.  He won many fights at Newcastle this way."

He was to remain part of the British wrestling scene until 1954.

He  wrestled the likes of Bert Assirati, Dave Armstrong and Jack Pye, not to mention going out of the World Heavyweight Championship Tournament at Harringay in February, 1947, when he lost to Northerner Bert Mansfield.

From the UK were Cornwall’s Francis St Clair Gregory, Welshman Bill Garnon, Northerners  Bill Foy, Bert Mansfield, Eastern Englands Clem Lawrence, and the UK based Trinadian Phil Siki.

Also taking part were Estonian Martin Butch, Belgian Gaston Ghevaert, Greek Milo Popocopolis, Canadian carl van Wurden, Frenchman Ivan Martinson, and pre war legends Carl Reginsky, Karl Manooign, Abdul the Turk  and Issy Van Dutz, 

First round results saw single fall wins for Gregory over Butch, Ghevaert over Foy, Arrirati over Van Wurden,  Manoogian over Van Dutz, Mansfield over Abdul, Reginski over Lawrence, Martinsen over Siki and a win by the disqualification route for Popocopolis over Garnon.

Joe Abella

The Maltese born wrestler with Australian credentials was honoured with a double page spread in The Wrestler magazine when he visited Britain in January 1966.

Even so, we can find reference to only a couple of British appearances, one of those being a straight falls loss to Joe Murphy. 

We have found documentation of Joe in Australia in the early sixties, but even that is scant. The Wrestler magazine reported that Joe had moved from Malta to Canada when a teenager, moving on to Australia and turning professsional in 1956.

He went on to win the Australian light heavyweight championship, but apparently no one told Iron Jawed Joe!

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Jorani Abrahams

Israeli heavyweight wrestled for Dale Martin Promotions in Southern England during November, 1964.  Incredibly defeated Dazzler Joe Cornelius  on his home turf at the Royal Albert Hall, forcing Joe to submit twice. We would welcome more information.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.


Fans of 1960s wrestling will most likely remember a popular wrestler called Majid Ackra. Unknown to most of us at the time was that Accra was the son of a very well respected wrestler. The wrestler known as Accra, sometimes Great Accra, in the 1940s and 1950s was an Olympic competitor in the freestyle wrestling event at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. 

Karam Rasul Kashmiri, that was  Accra's birth name,  was born in India on  17th May, 1911. Following the Second World War he moved  to Manchester where he combined ownership of a drapery store in Moss Side with wrestling commitments throughout the north and midlands.  Naturally he also trained his son to wrestle before passing young Majid Ackra on to Jack Atherton for final preparation as a professional wrestler.

Achmed the Turk

Blackpool based stocky, moustachioed heavyweight of  the early and mid sixties who wrestled for both the independent promoters  and Joint Promotions. Wrestled some of the big names of the time, including Dave Armstrong and Gordon Nelson, usually on the losing end.

Reader Mike Richards has supplied photos of Achmed during a bout with Billy Joyce at Bromsgrove.

Former amateur wrestler Allan Best recalls meeting Achmed when training in  Lancashire, "I was astonished when he appeared in the ring sporting a moustache and unable to speak English."  We suspect Achmed will have used other identities in the ring and would welcome more information about this intriguing personality.

Please get in touch if you can provide more information.

Cowboy Ken Ackles

Cowboy ken Ackles, the swaggering Stetson wearing heavyweight billed from the mid wets of the United States was actually born in Nova Scotia, Canada, on 13th July, 1916.

Most of his adult life was spent in the United States where he combined a wrestling career with that of actor in B movies.

Cowboy Ken brought his swagger and his rugged tactics to  Britain in the winter of 1963 when he  promised more than the over-rated Americans who preceded him. Whilst the boasting may have been real the achievements did not live up to expectation.

A Royal Albert Hall loss against Tibor Szakacs and further defeats by lesser rated British heavies confirmed British fans' opinion of American wrestlers. 

Following a professional career that took him around the world Ackles died, aged seventy in Houston on 5th November, 1986.  

Majid Ackra

Wrestling tournaments of the twentieth century were peppered with unlikely sounding names from all corners of the globe. Many were from no further afield than Blackpool or Bognor.

Majid Ackra was the genuine article. A stocky, powerful Pakistani heavyweight, he would stride into the ring wearing his turban and white robe.

Born in 1937 he came to Britain in his mid teens and wrestled in the UK during 1960’s and early 1970s. Despite living in Manchester he was a genuinely national star, working around the country and as familar in the rings of the south as he was in the north of England and Scotland. 

Following a professional debut against Vic Hessle he went on to compete against wrestlers ranging in style and weight from middleweight champion Clayton Thompson to  heavyweight bruiser Johnny Yearsley.

He left the UK in 1967 for a three year tour of India and Pakistan, and boasted of defeating the great Dara Singh, though the former Indian champion must have been past his peak by this time.

Following a successful career in the UK he moved to North America in the 1970s, returning in the seventies as a much harder edged wrestler.

Otto Acron (Aussie Dean)

Australian Otto Acron may only have wrestled in Britain for the best part of 1962, but don't let this lack of British exposure hide a remarkable story. Acron, real name Alexander Alsop, was born in Sydney in 1935. 

As a child he read about the exploits of a South African strongman who could carry a horse up a ladder!  At twelve years old, having been taken to his first wrestling show at  Leichhardt Stadium  his mind was set to becoming a professional wrestler. Following a serious injury in a boxing match when he was fourteen the youngster vowed to not only fully recover but build his strength so that he too could perform  remarkable feats, such as lifting a horse.

During the 1950s he won various body-building and weight lifting competitions, and also made his debut as a professional wrestler in 1955. Around the same time he began to work for various circuses as a strongman, but it wasn't until 1959 that he succeeded in carrying a horse fourteen feet up a ladder! In 1962 he came to Europe where he worked in Britain as a wrestler and as a circus strongman in Norway and Belgium.

In Britain he used the name Otto Acron whilst working for Joint Promotions and Aussie Dean (brother of Dennis Dean) working for the independents. From his home in the Netherlands, where he had married, Otto continued to wrestle and perform strongman feats until 1974 when he returned to Australia.

He didn't take things easy. In 1976 he lifted a mini car above his head, in 1984 was still winning numerous competitions including Mr Australia masters, and in 1997, aged 61, held two 300 hp planes for more than 15 seconds, succeeding his previous Guinness Book of Records entry of two 178 hp planes for 10 seconds. At the age of seventy he did 1125 push ups in half an hour to raise money for a young boy who needed a motorised wheel chair. Not bad.