“Demon” Vs. “Strangler”

The Clinton Morning News – February 10, 1887

An Exciting Catch-As Catch-Can Wrestling Match.

Joe Acton Throws Evan Lewis Three Times Out of Four – No Strangling Work This Time – Description of the Four Rounds – Lewis Wants Some More of It – The Attendance.



CHICAGO, Feb. 8. – There were some 3,500 people at Battery D Monday night to witness the catch-as-catch-can wrestling match between Joe Acton, otherwise known as “The Demon,” and Evan Lewis, who has obtained, and perhaps deservedly, the title of “The Strangler.”  All denominations, except perhaps the clergy, were represented in the crowd at the Battery.  There were lawyers, doctors, board of trade men, merchants, and every description of sporting men, from the owner of a thoroughbred racing stable down to a shoestring gambler.  Lewis is probably a Welshman and Acton is an Englishman born.  There is considerable difference in the size of the two men.  Acton is 5 feet 5 inches high while Lewis is 5 feet 10 inches and their weights are respectively about 160 and 180 pounds.  Both are splendid specimens of physical humanity.  After a long wait varied by a few athletic exhibitions the two champions made their appearance.  The match was for the best three in five falls.

First round – It was exactly 8:30 as the men got together.  Lewis tried to get a leg lock, but Acton quickly had him on his knees and held with a half Nelson.  Lewis partially got free and made an attempt to get his favorite neck grasp.  Acton avoided it, and though Lewis threw him, he was up again without the required two shoulders being down.  They broke and got together again with a neck hold.  Lewis threw Acton with a grapevine, but again Acton avoided touching with his shoulders.  Acton then got a good grip around the body and had Lewis on his knees.  They wrestled some time in this position, when Acton got a half Nelson on the Wisconsin man and almost had him over, but Lewis got away and had Acton on his side with a grape-vine.  Acton then got a half Nelson on the big one.  Lewis bridged, and after a struggle partially turned Acton over.  “The Demon” was not daunted, and coming at Lewis again he got a good half Nelson, throwing “The Strangler” fairly on his shoulders, and winning the first fall in 10 minutes.



Second round – Only lasted three minutes.  Lewis throwing Acton with a side hold, grape-vine.  Lewis seemed surprised and did not claim the fall, but his second did, and Jack Burke properly allowed it.

Third round – Acton got a grip on the left leg, but could do nothing.  Lewis lifted the little man and tried to cross buttock with him, but failed.  Lewis then attempted to get in some strangle work, but Acton was too clever, and managed to turn him over, nearly securing a fall.  The big one got out of it, but not for long, as Acton, with a half Nelson, turned him over on his back, and though Lewis bridged, “The Demon” gradually wore him down, and won the third fall of the match, and the second for himself, in 7 minutes.



Fourth round – When they came together Lewis made a rush for his man, and lifting him in his arms as if he was a child, tried to throw him over his head.  Acton escaped.  Lewis then got a grip on Acton’s right arm, and there were cries of “Look out, Acton, he’ll break your arm.”  Lewis threw Acton with a grape vine, and it was a close call; the referee decided against it, however, and Acton, getting a half Nelson, turned the big man over.  He again tried to bridge, but could not manage, Acton winning the fourth fall and the match in 6 minutes.

Immediately after the decision it was announced that $100 forfeit had been posted by Lewis to wrestle another match with Acton in three weeks, three points down to decide, and the stakes to be $500 a side and the gate money.


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