10 May: The Strangler in the Ring

Evan ‘The Strangler’ Lewis took on English wrestling champion Jack Wannop on May 10th, 1888 at Chicago’s Battery D Armoury: the first, and much-anticipated, wrestling ‘Championship of the World’.

Lewis was banned from performing his signature move – similar to a rear naked choke as seen in mixed martial arts now – but nonetheless secured a decisive victory over Wannop, who was “nearly killed”, according to The Sporting Life.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the Royal family’s interest in the burgeoning sport had to be kept on the down-low; consider whether Wannop deliberately threw the match because he was bribed by gangsters; and reveal how, decades later, he was still re-living his glory days – but this time on the London stage…

Further Reading:

• ‘For Blood and Money: Jack Wannop V Evan ‘The Strangler’ Lewis’ (Grappling With History, 2019): https://grapplingwithhistory.com/2019/06/13/for-blood-and-money/

• ‘Bare-knuckle boys: The history of Victorian boxing and wrestling’ (Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, 2023): https://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/feature/victorian-boxing/

• ‘Standing Rear Naked Choke Finishes in UFC History’ (UFC, 2020):

#1800s #US #Sport