Ali Baba Throws Shikat To Capture World Mat Crown

Detroit Free Press, April 26, 1936
By Tod Rockwell

And now the heavyweight wrestling championship has come to Detroit!

It happened last night at Olympia when Ali Baba, strange man from Detroit’s Hendrie St., pinned the mighty shoulders of Dick Shikat, until then the titleholder, before more than 8,500 wildly cheering spectators. They paid $7,405.93 to see a top-notch show.

Turkey can claim Ali Baba no end, but the folks out in the 90 block of Hendrie St. know he’s been there long enough to vote. Ali weighed 201 – pounds and gave away 27 pounds to the German. The bout lasted 46 minutes and 40 seconds.

The big German had been giving the Hendrie St. favorite quite a going over until near the end of the match. Shikat had poked Detroit’s No. 1 grappler in the eye just once too often. So Ali picked up the big fellow and dumped him over the top rope.

With difficulty, the German crawled back at the count of eight and Ali picked him up again, like a bag of salt. Head first he dished the champ again over the top rope and Dick sprawled once more on the cement. As fate would have it, he landed at the feet of Buddy Rogers, widely known movie star. Buddy had been eating peanuts.

Dick’s perspiring back picked up most of Buddy’s peanut shells and the champ was a sorry sight as he climbed back into the ring, groggy at nine. Then the swarthy Hendrie St. man body-slammed Dick plenty. He plopped on his prostrate form and with three slaps on the back, referee Vern Clark signified that the title was Ali’s and Detroit’s.

Then there was a sight around Olympia’s ring. The head man was Hendrie St.’s favorite. His head was shaved shiny. But he sported a black moustache that was no phoney because Dick had twitched it with a will several times.

The new champion was barefooted. He sported scarlet trunks. Hairy chested, he stood in the center of the ring and stiffly bowed a neck that came straight up from his shoulders. The new champ truly can doff his collar without removing his tie. Of such is the bulk of his neck.

He bowed again and again as the cheers rang out. He disdained aiding the fallen Shikat, who was carried from the ring by three policemen and two ushers and another man. It seemed that Shikat’s underpins hadn’t recovered from the stretching Ali gave them a few minutes before the pinning thump.

Olympia fans tumbled for Ali as soon as he entered the ring sporting a maroon fez. For height, he’s just a little bit, but his chest is bigger than most barrels. Tremendous shoulders and arms make him appear top heavy and make his legs seem spindly.

So short were the latter that at no time could he effect any of the usual scissors grips on Shikat. His legs were inches short of encircling the great torso of the German. Spectators whooped it up as he squatted cross-legged in his corner rather than stand up, as do all wrestlers prior to bouts.

He sat there as stoical as a cigar-store Indian. ‘Twas whispered that he couldn’t speak much English. But the folks out Hendrie St. way know better and so do ringsiders now. When Clark, following Shikat’s application of his famed and torturous hammerlock, asked Ali if he’d quit, he replied, as plain as could be:

“Hell, no.”

Shikat flew to Detroit from Columbus, where he is involved in a lawsuit which attempts to prevent him from further wrestling. Injunctions, sought by Joe Alvarez of Boston, were denied his former manager who claims he owns a share of Shikat’s earnings. The court, however, impounded Shikat’s earnings. Alvarez undoubtedly will drop the suit, however, now that Shikat has lost his laurels. He said as much.

The supporting card of last night’s show stamped Adam Weissmuller as a worthy promoter. His bouts were entertaining and packed with action. It was his second card at Olympia. In the first bout, Frank Malcewicz and Ernie Peterson drew in 20 minutes; Frank Sexton pinned Pat McCleary in 11:15; Jim Heffner and Bill Kief drew in 30 minutes, and John Swenski pinned Alex Kasaboski in the semi-final at 16:52.

Following his defeat, Shikat was taken to Receiving Hospital complaining of pain in the pelvic girdle. Physicians X-rayed the pelvis to determine if the injury was serious.

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