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January 17, 2021

12/31/2020 11:13:00 AM
Evan Lewis was the original "Strangler"

By Kenyon Bennett
Evan Lewis was a renowned nineteenth-century competitive wrestler of Welsh heritage who hailed from Ridgeway. He earned the nickname "the Strangler" due to a chokehold maneuver used against his opponents. His wrestling career rose and fell over approximately 13 years, 1882-1895. Journalists reported outcomes of his matches, as well as his bravery and generosity outside the ring. His modest life began May 24, 1860.
Lewis often competed in Cornish-style and catch-as-catch-can wrestling. He sometimes wrestled in Greco-Roman style. A few significant matches follow. On June 25, 1882, Lewis became the Montana Champion in Cornish-style wrestling after defeating Edwin Edwards in Butte, Mont. Territory. Edwards had beaten Lewis in a match a month earlier, The Butte Miner reported June 27, 1882. On March 20, 1883, Lewis won the Wisconsin Heavyweight Championship in Cornish-style wrestling against Ben Knight of Darlington, the Iowa County Democrat, Mineral Point, reported March 23, 1883. Today, misinformation over Lewis's title names might arise. The matches occurred more than 125 years ago. Sports historian Tim Hornbaker credited Lewis as winning the American Catch-as-Catch-Can Championship in Chicago (1887) and World Catch-as-Catch-Can Championship in Chicago (1888). Hornbaker said Lewis won the Mixed-Style/Catch Championship in New Orleans (1893), but another source called this the American Graeco-Roman Championship, and still another called it the Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight Championship. Nevertheless, Lewis was at the top of his game. ....
(See the rest of the story in the December 31, 2020 Chronicle issue)





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