The British Heavyweight Champion (September 1947)


Charles Mascall Contends that few will beat him !

Bert Assirati is short and stocky for a heavy-weight. But therein lies his success as a wrestler. Because of his size, his agility and his knowledge of the various holds and leverages, there have been few wrestlers capable of beating him.

Take a look at his record. In a page allotted to foreign mat stars that he has defeated are the names of Hank Osbourne USA, Mike Brendel Hungary, Michael Leoni Italy, Henri Stoeff Bulgaria, Oscar Nygren Sweden, Nicoly Kwariani Russia, Sailor Jack Arnold USA, Renato Gardini Italy, Leo Jensen Canada, Tommy Nilan Australia, Heinrich Froehner Germany, Al Hamilton Canada, Steve Savage USA, and Stefan Novotny Hungary. These are just a few.

To name the complete list would take a number of pages. Born in London, Assirati stands five feet six inches in his bare feet and weighs around the 16 stone mark. Despite his weight and stockiness, his opponents find him a difficult man to hold in any one spot for very long. Henri Deglane, recently in Paris, tried for one hour to pin the slippery Londoner, but the final decision was a draw. Deglane is a former heavyweight champion of the world. The fact that he spent much of his early life as a music-hall acrobat has assisted Assirati in his climb to the pinnacle of wrestling success. For a number of years he was part of the tumbling act of Mello and Nello, feature attraction on variety bills in this country and on the Continent. His amatuer career began at the famous Ashdown Wrestling Club. Here he trained for amatuer competition with the same vigour that he now carries out his wrestling schedule which, even today, consists when his bookings of course permit, of two hours daily wrestling in the gymnasium.

Atholl Oakeley, the genius behind early British wrestling ; is credited with the discovery of the champion. Peter Gotz and Jack Carroll, champions of the past, were responsible for instructing him in the tricks of the professional game, and a tour of the United States prepared Assirati to take his place at the head of the sport in this country. According to the record books, Douglas Clark, recognised as the British champion retired and the title became open. At Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester, Bert Assirati faced George Gregory of Bolton, and defeated him to become British heavyweight champion.

With his claim to the British title now firmly secure, Assirati sought world honours by entering the tournaments at Harringay last March. His defeat of Ivor Martinsen, Danish European titlist, is now history. What the outcome the finals of the tournaments to be run off this winter will be remains to be seen, but, it is our bet that Assirati will emerge heavyweight champion of the wrestling world. In making every endeavour to obtain this World Title ambition, Assirati has trained hard.

He has taken full advantage of the fine summer we have experienced this year. He pays regular visits to the Welsh Harp. This open space is an ideal spot in N.W. London which provides good training, swimming and sun-bathing facilities. The results of this training campaign is most noticeable when Assirati strips in preparation to face his opponent.

His recent form has been very good against the toughest matmen we have in this country, and we of "Combat" feel sure this standard of form will be retained against the influx of foreign grapplers that are expected to visit this country during the coming season.

In contests over the past few months Assirati has had to deal with opponents whose methods of attack in trying to overcome this powerful wrestler have been varied and hard. However, in all due respects to the opposition, it will be a wrestler of exceptional ability to master the British Champion.