Sacramento Union – March 29, 1955
By Bob McCarty
The National Wrestling Alliance may not recognize Leo Nomellini as heavyweight wrestling champion of the world. Leo has no challengers in Sacramento County after the way he manhandled Ben Sharpe in Memorial Auditorium last night.
Off hand, we can think of no one in Yolo County who figures to give the San Francisco grid 49er a struggle – unless there is a “sleeper” in Woodland.
Large Leo took care of Mr. Sharpe in football fashion. Both came off the ropes for a flying tackle after bending each others’ arms and legs for about 20 minutes and both flattened out on the mat after the crash in mid-ring.
After moments of anxiety, they arose like sleeping giants and Leo proceeded to bull his opponent out of the ring. Sharpe dangled in mid-air for a moment when his left leg was caught in the strands and then continued his fall to the floor.
Ben wrenched his knee in the spill and was unable to get back into the ring at the count of 20. The end came after 24 minutes and 10 seconds.
Ben, who is known as a meanie in this mat business, hobbled to the dressing room with the aid of a couple of strong-armed gents while the fans hooted the loser.
We traipsed up to Nomellini’s powder room where the champ was accepted plaudits. His handler, Frank Malcewicz, did most of the talking while Leo grinned and showed his muscles.
Leo says he is serious about his mat work and may, or may not, get back to footballing for the 49ers.
The champ speaking: “If I do join the 49ers, it will be close to the start of the season. I can keep in shape wrestling and the pay isn’t bad.”
Malcewicz has his tiger slated for action in Kansas City Thursday and St. Louis the following night. Leo meets Lu Kim the first night and “a fellow named (Johnny) Valentine” on Friday.
What about Lou Thesz, the gent Nomellini allegedly dethroned last week in San Francisco?
Malcewicz again: “We figure Lou should come to us. I think he took the easy way out with Leo and may not want to get back in the ring with him.”
In the interim, rassling has two heavyweight champions and come fall, the 49ers will have two tackles in the starting lineup. Don’t bet large Leo is not one of them.
Last night’s show grossed a good $2,217.60. Other results:
Enrique Torres and Bobo Brazil trimmed Mike Sharpe and Jesus Ortega in the tag team semi-windup.
Mike took the first fall from Brazil with a body press and Brazil came back to even the count with Mike via a body slam. Sharpe was then disqualified for failure to allow Torres back in the ring on time.
Steve Stanlee and Johnny Barend went to a draw in the one-fall opener.