Yussif Mahmout

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 by John Wood
Yussif Mahmout was a great turn-of-the-century catch wrestler who methodically made his way through wrestler of prominence in America until he could at last face Frank Gotch at Dexter Park Pavilion in Chicago on April 14th, 1909.

Mahmout caused an uproar when he entered the ring barefoot as was the custom in his native Bulgaria. The Gotch camp protested, believing it was a ploy to avoid Gotch’s vicious toe hold. The referee ruled in Mahmout’s favor and the match commenced as originally intended… it turned out to be a moot point with the American champion throwing the Bulgarian twice inside of seventeen minutes.

Wrestling for Boxers

Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017 by John Wood
How do you train when you want to be in the meanest and toughest possible shape? The answer is “Like a wrestler” which is exactly what boxing champ Jim Jeffries used to do in his training camps. There’s nothing better for buiding strength of mind AND strength of body. Jeffries’ wrestling coach? None other than Farmer Burns.
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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Dr. Benjamin Roller

Posted on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 by John Wood
Dr. Benjamin Franklin “B.F.” Roller was an early catch wrestler who sparred with the likes of Frank Gotch, George Hackenschmidt, The Great Gama, and Stanislaus Zbyszko. Aside from wrestling, Roller was a great athlete in other sports, captaining the football and track teams at DePauw University where he attended in the late 1800’s. Roller briefly held the world record in the discus.

Roller was actually a legitimate Doctor having graduated from medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Roller played a bit of professional football to pay the bills after that but eventually accepted a professorship at the University of Washington. Shortly after, in a rather interesting twist, he instead chose to chase fame and fortune — mostly fortune — as a professional wrestler.. Roller’s first professional match was against Jack Carkeek whom he defeated in two falls after 17 minutes and for which he received $1600 which was a rather princely sum in the early 20th century.

Roller was a very good (but not great) wrestler although he did win his fair share of matches, and held the American Heavyweight title on three occasions. Roller wrestled the likes of Farmer Burns, Fred Beell, Raymond Cazeaux, Hjalmar Lundin, Raoul Le Boucher, George Lurich, Jim Londos, Ed Lewis, and Joe Stecher (among others.) Eventually he became a training partner for George Hackenschmidt during the time Hack famously tussled with Frank Gotch.

In the years after, Roller wrote a syndicated column for newspapers around the country on health and physical culture topics and even came up with his own training system dubbed “Rollerism.”

Stanley Radwan ~ The Iron Man

Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2012 by John Wood

Stanley Radwan ~ The Iron Man

Stanley Radwan was a catch-wrestler and strongman who performed during the 1940’s and 50’s in the Cleveland, Ohio area. This event poster from 1949 advertises Radwan pulling cars with his teeth, biting through steel, breaking chains, bending horseshoes, bend nails and spikes, nail driving by hand, tearing decks of cards, and performing the human chain feat. It was said Radwan could also bend coins with his hands. As a side note, St. Josaphat’s Hall is still around, it was converted to an art gallery a few years ago.