Category Archives: 1932

Steele v. Strangler

Time – December 12, 1932

Two of the ugliest professional athletes in the U. S. last week crawled through the ropes of a ring at Madison Square Garden. One was blubbery Ed (“Strangler”) Lewis, recognized by the New York State Athletic Commission as the heavyweight wrestling champion of the world. The other was crook-nosed Ray Steele, whose challenge the Commission had ordered Lewis to accept. Continue reading

Grunts in a Bowl

Time – June 20, 1932

Robert Friedrich (“Strangler”) Lewis is the oldest able professional wrestler in the U. S. He is almost 50, with the figure of a porpoise, a partially bald head, swollen ears and pig-eyes dulled by trachoma. Last week Strangler Lewis waddled proudly into a New York ring for a match with Richard Shikat, a limber and powerful young German who has been trying to get a return match for the title ever since Champion Jim Londos won it from him two years ago. The match between Shikat and Lewis was important because Champion Londos had been ordered by the New York State Boxing Commission to wrestle the winner; also because it was the first sports event held in Madison Square Garden’s new stadium at Long Island City. Continue reading


The Milwaukee Journal – August 31, 1932

San Francisco, Calif. – Don George, Boston, won from Dan Koloff, Bulgaria, on a foul after each had gained one fall.  Koloff was disqualified for using rabibit punches; John Pesek, Ravenna, defeated Dick Raines, Texas, in 5 minutes; Ira Dern, Salt Lake City, and Bob Kruse, Portland, Ore, drew in 60 minutes; Everett Marshall, La Junta, Col., pinned Barney Ostopovitch, Russia, in 15 minutes; Bull Heffner, Texas, and Hardy Krushkamp, Columbus, Ohio, drew in 30 minutes. Continue reading

Sonnenberg Wins

The Border Cities Star – October 19, 1932

THREE RIVERS, Que., Oct. 19. – Dynamite Gus Sonnenberg, former world heavyweight wrestling champion, defeated Al Mercier of Ware, Mass., in two straight falls in the feature match of a wrestling show here last night. Continue reading

Pesek on Playing ‘Policeman’ for Ed Lewis

St. Louis Star-Chronicle – December 9, 1932
by Harry T. Brundidge

Little John Pesek is the “Tiger Man” of wrestling.  This uncrowned heavyweight champion of the world, as he is known to wrestlers and sports writers, has actually forgotten more about the science of the mat than many of the top-notchers of today will learn in the next ten years.  He admits — as has been charged — that he is the former “policeman” for Ed (Strangler) Lewis and used to toss with ease the men “The Strangler” did not care to meet.  He did such a thorough job as the Lewis “cop” that today Lewis, Jim Londos and other topnotchers have persistently refused to wrestle him. Continue reading

Bob Kruse Wins From Ad Santel

The Evening News, San Jose, California – September 17, 1932

OAKLAND, Sept. 17.–Bob Kruse took one fall from Ad Santel in Oakland last night in 40 minutes.  John Grandovich won in 32 minutes from Nick Velcoff.  Mustapha Pasha and Jack Manuel, and Dr. Len Hall and “Moon” Mullins battled to draws.

Pesek Challenges Londos In New “War” Move

Los Angeles Examiner – August 23, 1932
By Sid Hughes

Now it’s the champion’s move.

Al Haft, manager of John Pesek, Nebraska Tiger and champion of the Sandow-Hollywood Legion wrestling faction, today had appeared before the state athletic commission to deposit two cashier’s checks totaling $6,000. Continue reading

Ad Santel Wins From Ted Cox

The Deseret News – May 14, 1932

OAKLAND, Cal., May 13-(AP)- Ad Santel, 190 pounds, Oakland, defeated Ted Cox, 230 pounds, Lodi, by gaining a two out of three fall edge, in a finish wrestling match here tonight.

Santel won the first fall in 12 minutes as he threw Cox from the ring.  The Lodi husky came back to win the second fall in six minutes with a body lock.  He went down for the deciding tumble.

“Wild Bill” Beth, 230, Stockton, and John Evko, 225, Chicago, both fell from the ring and were unable to continue after each had scored one fall.  Beth took the first with a body slam in 21 minutes, and Evko the second with a body lock in six minutes.

Londos v. Spy

Time – May 2, 1932

Christopher Theophilus (“Jim Londos”), who considers himself the world’s champion wrestler and has a gold belt to prove it, last week advanced across a Manhattan ring and seized the left arm of Joe De Vito, a rubbery Italian with a pork-barrel torso and a door-knob ear. He gave the arm a vicious twist. De Vito, grunting with unreasonable surprise, retaliated by trying to pluck off one of Londos’s toes. For 21 min. 42 sec. the two groveled, grunted, snorted, glowered, slapped, twisted and oozed. Once De Vito bowled over Londos with a butt in the stomach. Finally Londos whirled De Vito around his head in an “airplane spin,” threw him down with a loud thud, sat on top of his chest until old fat Ernest Roeber, who used to be a professional wrestler and now referees many of Londos’s championship bouts, patted his back for winning.

The Londos v. DeVito match was the most surprising of the indoor wrestling season, not because Londos won but because his opponent belonged to a different “group.” Wrestlers in Japan recently divided themselves into two factions in order to make more money. Professional wrestlers in the U. S. are segregated, for similar reasons, into three loosely organized troupes. Each is controlled by a promoter who sees to it that his best performers do not risk prestige or popularity by wrestling against able members of a rival group. Each has a claimant to the world’s championship, several more or less high-grade contenders for it. De Vito hitherto has belonged to a group controlled by Paul Bowser, which operates in Boston and the Midwest. The Bowser group also includes Gus Sonnenberg, Jack Sherry, Don George, Henri De Glane (champion). Londos is champion for the most profitable of the three groups, operated by Promoter Jack Curley in Manhattan and the Midwest. Some of his stablemates are Richard Shikat, Jim McMillen, Leon Pinetski, Gino Garibaldi, Sandor Szabo. De Vito was allowed to wrestle Champion Londos because he professed to have severed connection with the Bowser group. Promoter Curley, sure that Londos could beat him anyway, was inclined to doubt this. He said: “I think he [De Vito] is a spy.”

A third group, specializing in wrestlers of more advanced age like Ed (“Strangler”) Lewis, Joe Stecher, the Zbyszko Brothers, John Pesek, is operated on the Pacific Coast by Billy Sandow, onetime circus strongman. Its champion, until recently, was Strangler Lewis, who last winter became an independent performer and engaged in a match against Champion De Glane in which he was disqualified for biting.

The elaborate way in which professional wrestling is organized, the elaborate and apparently unnecessary contortions with which most professional wrestlers discharge their duties, have often caused the honesty of the sport to be derided. In New York State it is permissible to advertise wrestling events as “exhibitions” but not as “matches.” Few wrestling critics, however, question the ability or sincerity of Champion Londos. His amazing agility, his wily endurance, his handsome appearance, have been largely instrumental in re-establishing wrestling as a well-patronized pastime in U. S. cities.

Now 34, Champion Londos is one of 13 offspring of a Greek olive picker. He got his nickname, for purposes of abbreviation, from a sportswriter who admired Author Jack London, when he started his wrestling career in San Francisco 17 years ago. During the winter, Champion Londos wrestles three times a week, makes about $250,000 a year. This season he has defended his title 207 times. He lives in St. Louis, eats enormously, maintains a library of 1,200 volumes, takes singing lessons, smokes a corncob pipe.

It Was Not A Fake

Rochester Evening Journal And The Post Express – May 11, 1932

DIMITRI DEMETROFF, well known Russian wrestler, died in a Boston hospital this week following amputation of an infected leg suffered at wrestling.  He’s the second wrestler to die within the year from injuries suffered on the mat, and the deaths were not faked.

Believe it or not, professional wrestling is rough, and all the wrestlers suffer constantly from leg and body infections contracted on the mat.  And 50 per cent of the wrestlers, it is said, contract eye infections which sometimes lead to blindness.