Asheville Citizen – February 27, 1918
Weighing 225 pounds and in perfect physical condition, Ivan Michaloff, crack Siberian wrestler, arrived in Asheville yesterday from New York. Ivan is on his way to Spartanburg, where he is going on the invitation of United States Army officer friends stationed at Camp Wadsworth, who are endeavoring to have him made physical instructor at this camp.
Though professionally a wrestler, the husky Siberian is one of the best informed men on the conditions in Russia, having served in that country as a colonel under Kerensky but three months ago.
When war broke out in 1914, he was in South America. He left that country at once for Russia and joined the Cossack troops of which he was a member during the Japanese-Russian war.
He was in the battle of Lemberg and also was in the thick of the fight when the Russians made their advance on the Germany army at Przemysl. After many months of fighting, he obtained a two-month furlough and came to America where he was at once matched with the leading wrestlers.
His manager obtained a longer furlough for him and during this time he was matched with Zbyszko, the Polish wrestler. The bout took place at Louisville before a packed house. Michaloff gave the Pole a good tussle and remained on his feet for one hour and forty minutes when the superior knowledge of Zbyszko finally caused his defeat. Later he was matched with Stecher and stayed forty-five minutes with him, which was more than twice as long as either Hussane or Cutler was able to stay with the big Iowan [sic].
But it was against John Olin, the Finnish champion, that Ivan was at his best. Olin, whose grueling attack methods caused the defeat of Stecher, just suited Michaloff who stood shoulder to shoulder with him for two hours and forty-five minutes, when the contest was declared a draw.
He beat Roland Herach in less than eighty-seven minutes and was also returned the winner when he met Roller and Demetral. None of the many lesser lights have been able to get a decision against him.
No less an authority than the late Frank Gotch (said) that Michaloff is a master at catch-as-catch-can and on the defensive is second to none, while Charley Cutler, according to newspaper clippings, considers Ivan the best man sent to the United States in years.
“The way he broke the body scissors hold used by Stecher when they met in Kansas City demonstrates how powerful this Siberian wrestler is,” stated Cutler not many months ago.
Michaloff weighs 225 pounds, is six feet three inches tall. He is thirty-one years old and has a chest of 49 ½ inches. His waist measures 36, neck 18 ½, reach 75, biceps 17 ¾, forearm 16, thigh 30 ½, calf 18 ½.
He hopes that arrangements can be made for a match to be held in Asheville.
But it was not in talking of wrestling that Mr. Michaloff proved himself the most interesting when interviewed by a Citizen reporter. He is a man of great experience and learning. He is a partner in the drug business with his brother in Chicago and, though he holds a drug license in Russia, his travels in the United States prevented him from taking out a license to compound prescriptions in this country.
In speaking of President Wilson, Mr. Michaloff stated: “Wilson is one of the greatest men who ever held the reins of power over any government. Since coming to this country and studying some of the history of its growth, I have come to think that Wilson is one of the best, if not the best president the United States ever had.”
The wrestler/army officer likes Wilson’s firmness and says his patriotic actions cannot be questioned. “He thinks only of the country and the people” was the way he put it.
The big Siberian went back to Russia last November when he thought he could be of assistance to Kerensky. He was made an officer at once and, within a few weeks’ time, rose to the rank equal to a colonel over here. When Kerensky was overthrown, Michaloff returned to America. He landed in New York five weeks ago, and has since met and defeated several well-known wrestlers.
In speaking of the present trouble in Russia, the former officer stated that Trotsky was a crooked politician and in the pay of the Germans. Lenin, he stated, was an idealist and at heart is only looking for the betterment of his countrymen. “A conflict between the two leaders is bound to take place and soon,” said Mr. Michaloff. “The one fighting for crooked power and the other for his ideal.”
When asked what he thought about the American soldiers, the wrestler spoke in words of highest praise. Speaking from knowledge grown out of experience, the former Russian officer said that America’s method of training her soldiers in France before putting them on the firing line was the only sane course to pursue.
“This gets the boys acclimated and brings them closer to the front gradually without actually fighting. If they were made to fight in the trenches at once, thousands of them would fall down from illness and other troubles, whereas the gradual approach hardens them and renders them efficient to give the Huns a good battle,” he said.