Thesz Gets O’Connor Draw As Fans Boo

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, December 30, 1953

Although Pat O’Connor of New Zealand had much the better of his wrestling match with world heavyweight champion Lou Thesz of St. Louis, Mo., he had to be content with settling for a draw after a thrilling struggle lasting one hour Tuesday night at the Minneapolis auitorium.

A near capacity crowd of 8,166 which braved zero weather to witness the contest booed Referee Bill Kuusisto lustily when he called the bout a draw. The spectators thought O’Connor deserved the decision and, with it, the title, showing their displeasure by yelling themselves hoarse and shaking their fists at the arbiter.

O’Connor, on three occasions, apparently had Thesz pinned but, each time, the champion save dhimself by crawling off the mat. In one of the situations, Pat slammed Thesz flat on his back with an airplane spin but Lou saved himself by draping his left leg over the lower rope.

Twice more, within the first 40 minutes, Pat had Thesz flat on his back, once with a shoulder block and a second time when Thesz nearly knocked himself out by landing on the back of his head after missing a dropkick to O’Connor’s face.

The champion instinctively, each time, managed to crawl onto the bottom rope, thereby preventing O’Connor from gaining a richly deserved fall.

O’Connor, too, came dangerously close to being pinned on a number of occasions by short-arm scissors, a hammerlock and a double wrist-lock. Pat punished Lou severely with a series of toeholds, headlocks and head scissors.

During the last five minutes of the bout, O’Connor hurled Thesz from the ring during a furious mixup along the ropes and the champion barely got back at the count of 18.

Thesz immediately put hsi head under the top strand, thereby being out of hounds and preventing O’Connor from pressing his advantage. The Irishman, on three other efforts, hurled Lou out of the ring and had him in a bad way when the timekeeper tolled off the 60- minute limit.

Abe (King Kong) Kashey, making his reappearance here, enjoyed the unique experience of winning on a foul when Referee Stan Mayslack disqualified Paul Baillargeon after a lively tussle lasting 17 minutes, three seconds.

Kashey, who bears the reputation of being one of the foulest wrestlers, used his vast repertoire of savage tricks on Baillargeon with the result that the spectators thought Paul should have won a foul instead of Abe. The fans were so incensed at Mayslack’s action that it was necessary for several policemen to escort the referee from the ring to his dressing room.

Lou Thesz, 233, St. Louis, Pat o’Connor, 236, New Zealand, wrestled to draw, one hour.

Abe Kashey, 221, Los Angeles, won on foul from Paul Baillargeon, 238, Quebeck, 17:03.

Kinji Shibuya, 233, Honolulu, and Tony Baillargeon, 211, Quebec, drew, 30 minutes.

Vic Holbrook, 260, Long Beach, pinned Bob Orton, 238, Kansas City, Kan., 16:33.

Joe Pazandak, 237, Minneapolis, pinned Red Bastien, 190, Minneapolis, 16:11.

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