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By Athol Oakley

The tale of Athol Oakley, one of many maximum wrestlers of our time, and the bloody international of wrestling within the early 1900s. Athol labored himself up from a 5 stone youngster to a fifteen stone global wrestling champion, battling in millions of bouts world wide.

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He was rather tame so I suggested he buy himself a yellow dressing gown, yellow pants and put a skull and crossbones on it. Norman reluctantly agreed to this and also to my suggestion that Norman the Butcher should be printed in large letters on the back of his gown. The Newcastle press wrote: ‘Norman Ansell, now called “Norman the Butcher” (Heaven knows why), wrestled well and cleanly to beat’ However, under the tuition of Boganski, Norman the Butcher soon learned to live up to his name, and, with Jack Pye, whom I nicknamed ‘The Doncaster Panther’, soon became world famous.

King, however was a 34 Blue Blood On The Mat full-blown heavyweight of sixteen stone whereas Irslinger was only by comparison quite a little chap of 13 st 9 lbs. There was a right royal set-to in front of a packed house and the great Henri only managed to win with very considerable difficulty against the formidable Curtis. In fact, had King then known as much about wrestling as he knew five years later I think Irslinger would have been unable to give away so much weight to him. Meantime Boganski had worked himself up to be Newcastle’s star attraction, challenging the world and beating all the Northern opposition who took him on.

Believe you me, friends, it was some punch! Like a flash Pojello turned into it. His assailant was hurled, literally hurled, right through the door and out into the street, where he lay with his right arm broken. ’ I got a taxi and we took him to hospital, where Karl paid his fees. Some years afterwards I met the same man. He said, ‘Bloody marvellous, mate. ’ This was the type of man Curley had chosen to train me. Perhaps a better phrase would be to ‘tame’ me. I met Pojello at George Bothner’s gym.

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