Wrestling in Zambia

Throughout the 1950's and  the first half of the 1960's, Tommy Miller, "Zambia's Mr. Boxing" regularly wrote " At the Ring Side" in "Nshila" published by the Zambian Government, "Boxing Illustrated", "Ring Magazine", "Central African Post" and "Lusaka Advertiser" on boxing and wrestling antics in the Square Ring.
The hero of Lusaka, was the ever popular Fred Coates, who not only wrestled, but also promoted  wrestling shows at the Lusaka Show Grounds. In the Copperbelt, Fred was always perceived as the villain. Fred constantly attracted world class wrestlers to battle with him, invariable he lost the  first fight, however, on the rematch he would seek revenge, and justice would prevail when he claimed victory.

The text of WRESTLING IN ZAMBIA By Tommy Miller

Tommy Miller's last article on Zambian wrestling, published in "Boxing Illustrated "  March 1966.

Fred Coates in his trade mark leopard skin trunks. Fred was an extremely powerful man and could single handedly pick up telephone poles. Shaking hands  with Fred was like grasping a bunch of bananas.

A flyer for the first battle between Fred Coates and Quassa Modo.

Vincente Castlla of Spain fought under the nom du guerre " Quassa Modo" reputed to be one of the ugliest wrestlers in the world,   came honestly to his ring name as he was the stunt double for Anthony Quinn in the film " Hunchback  of Notre Dame". He fought Fred Coates twice with predictable results, beating the the local hero and then losing by disqualification.

Tommy Miller obtaining the lowdown from Quassa Modo.

Tommy, and Ken Miller getting the bald facts from Hungarian wrestler Josef Kovacs.

Nikolai Zigulinoff, the Vulgar Bulgar lets his hair down while being interviewed by Tommy.

The Wild Man from Borneo, obviously had a bad hair day and was a flower child of the  60's.

Ski Hi Lee, the Kalahari Wild Man and Ian Campbell were just a few of the other international wrestlers that fought in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. Mike Erasmus who hailed from Kitwe was the local hero and went on to be the Zambian heavyweight wrestling champion in 1966.
Fred Coates, Mike Erasmus, Tennson Phiri, Barry Lindo, Pete van der Merwe, Lucky Lawrence and Jackel Lawrence, were all noble gladiators of the square ring and put Zambian wrestling on the map. Thank you all .


Ken Miller