On May 7, 1915, the night before the Kentucky Derby, wrestling promoter George Beuchel presented a show at Jefferson County Armory in which the World Champion Charley Cutler defended his title against Louisville favorite Yussif Hussane. For decades after, the Derby Eve fight show was a tradition for fight fans. The wrestling and boxing promoters competed heavily (and some would say underhandedly) for the coveted Friday night spot in the Armory.
On Friday night, May 5, Mad Man Pondo put on a Girl Fight Show at Derby Expo 5 for a Girl Fight Show. The ladies put on a stellar show, as always, and as you can see for yourself, they drew a standing room only crowd.
Could this be the revival of a classic Derby Eve tradition? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Congratulations, ladies. Here’s to many more!
1947 was the year the Allen Club changed ownership, from Heywood Allen, Sr., to his partners Francis and Betty McDonogh. Here’s the bill “Mac” and Betty offered on May 2, 1947, seventy years ago today!
Derby Eve Wrestling Show at The Armory, Louisville.
World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz def. Dr. Ed Meske
Chicago Bear Fred Davis def. George Schnabel
Vic Christy and the former “Masked Superman” Hans Schnabel drew
Ann LaVerne and Mae Young def. Christy Adams and Evelyn Wall
Total attendance: 7100
Pat Fenton was crowned “Miss Kentucky Derby” during the show.
Read more about the golden age of Louisville wrestling in the new book, Louisville’s Greatest Show: The Story of the Allen Athletic Club!
Seventy-five years ago today…
May 1, 1942 – Jefferson County Armory
Derby Eve Show, presented by the Allen Athletic Club. Heywood Allen, promoter.
NWA World Heavyweight champion Bill Longson def. Sandor Szabo two out of three falls.
Women’s World Champion Mildred Burke def. Mae Young
King Kong Clayton def. Haille Samara to capture the Negro World Heavyweight Title, two out of three falls.
Buddy Knox and Herb Welch drew
Chief Little Wolf and Don Louis Thesz drew
2800 attendance. Gate: $3,335.50.
Read more about the legacy of the Allen Club in John Cosper’s new book, Louisville’s Greatest Show!