Bobby Managoff Cops World Title

Houston Post – November 28, 1942

Young Bobby Managoff was crowned the new heavyweight wrestling champion of the world Friday night at the City Auditorium in Houston, before a cheering capacity crowd that had flocked into the building to see their idol work against Yvon Robert.

Although the crowd was there to see Bobby conquer, they could hardly believe their eyes when referee Ellis Bashara held Bobby’s hand up in the symbol of victory, and stayed standing many minutes after the bout was over in a tribute of admiration to the scintillating young Armenian boy and his faithful father who holds the reins of destiny in his slow, sure, tedious trek to the title.

Bobby has the distinction of being the youngest man in grappling history to reign over the heavyweights. His recent rise to championship heights has taken place almost wholly in Houston, and twice before he made bids for the crown against Longson. While he gave the Utah titleholder physical beatings both times they met, Managoff always came out second best in the record books.

But last week in St. Louis, appearing in the semi-final battle on the card wherein Robert defeated Wild Bill Longson, Bobby made his first Missouri appearance, and blasted Joe Dusek to gain his first national notice. Promoter Morris Sigel, who has been convinced since the first time he saw Bobby wrestle that here was a sure champion, had a representative at that St. Louis ringside, and literally stole this Managoff-Robert contest right out from under the very big noses of a half dozen of the nation’s leading matchmakers.

Before Robert would sign to meet Managoff, however, he insisted upon a clause in the contract which stipulated that should Managoff win he must agree to give Robert a return chance within 90 days. This return battle is something which the fans can now begin to look forward to, for if Friday night’s fray is any criterion, such battles are few and far between.

It was evident from the first time Managoff and Robert went into a clinch that they were evenly matched. For a few torrid minutes they delved into conventional holds, measuring each other up, and then it was a question of the best man winning. Bobby Managoff proved to be that man. He pinned Robert twice, right out in the center of the ring.

The first fall went 22 minutes, with Managoff using a step-over toe-hold to win. In the second fall, Robert came back to the ring with determination breaking out in his own cold sweat, and clamped a rolling short-arm scissors on Bobby, to even it up, in 10 minutes and five seconds. Bobby, getting much the worst of it for a time, finally came through with the winning combination when he applied at least a dozen lightning-like, bombastic flying drop-kicks, to take the fall, the match, and the championship after seven minutes of the third fall.

Mildred Burke got back at the masked, mysterious Purple Flash in a special added battle, using her favorite alligator clutch to beat the masked femme in 18 minutes.

Louis Thesz, himself a former two-time champion, looked every bit the part in the semi-final, with his own airplane spin clamped on Jim “Goon” Henry. He beat the Goon in 15 minutes. It was Thesz, incidentally, who maintained throughout the week that Managoff would win the world’s mat title when he faced Robert.

Ray Eckert and Dynamite Joe Cox wrestled to a thrilling 20-minute draw in the card’s second slot, while Chief Joe Little Beaver used a Boston Crab to dispose of Roy Graham after only five minutes of the opener. John Galiano refereed the women’s match, while Paul Jones officiated in the other prelims.


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