Byers Remains Wrestle Queen; Cools Contender

St. Petersburg Times – September 2, 1954

June Byers, now recognized as the women’s world champion wrestler, made quick work of auburn-haired Bonnie Watson last night in a title match at the N. Worth Gable Armory.

A determined Byers took the first two falls over Watson to make short work of her first appearance in St. Petersburg in over two years.  She took 20 minutes before pulling the string with her own variation of a jack-knife hold, a “Byer’s bridge.”  The second fall lasted 12 minutes before she ended the match with a body slam and press.

The popular Byers combined tactics with Watson to floor referee Willie Santana several times during the match, then proceeded to wrestle atop him while the crowd of 550 howled.

The semi-final saw clean fighting Ace Freeman gain a two-out-of-three decision over Tiger Joe Marsh, a rough and tumble fighter who had to be escorted from the ring by promoter Pat O’Hara following the match.

Freeman split the first two falls with Marsh, then came back to clinch the victory after only seven minutes of grunt and groaning with a leg and arm lock.

In the preliminary match, Johnny Bence took 26 minutes to clamp a reverse full nelson on Prince Omar and win their single fall match.

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