Realization of all the promises made for Lewis will give the world another American wrestler for champion. Lewis is an exceptional man in the game he has chosen. He is well educated, having attended Ripon college at Ripon, Wis., although he is not a graduate.
In one respect Lewis resembles Frank Gotch, who claims that he has retired from the game. That is the ability to think quickly. Lewis has already shown evidence of wrestling mentality well above the average. In a match recently with Paul Martinson the Kentuckian was tricked into a toe hold which looked certain to produce a fall, but it didn't, for the simple reason that Lewis used his head and got out of trouble by taking the only possible way -- the long run.
AN ALL AROUND ATHLETE
Lewis is an all around athlete and it would be hard to fine a better proportioned man. Unlike the great majority of the powerfully muscled foreigners who for years have invaded this country in the chase for dollars and glory, he is not overburdened with bulging muscles and fat. It is hard to imagine where his remarkable strength comes from, but it is there. If there is one thing that may be a hindrance to Lewis that will be lack of weight. He weighs 206 pounds, which is somewhat low for a heavyweight grappler.
Early athletic training, gained in high school and at college, have done wonders for the Badger. When he attended high school he played on the baseball and football teams, and he also played some football while in college.
Sheboygan, Wis., may have a chance to boast if Lewis becomes a champion, for it was there that he was born on June 30, 1891. His father and mother are German. Lewis passed the early years of his life in Sheboygan and attended the grammar school there. When he was 13 years old, with his parents, he moved to Grand Rapids and there gained his high school education.
WRESTLED IN HIGH SCHOOL
While attending high school Lewis engaged in his first wrestling match. His team was playing in a small town not far from Grand Rapids, and after the game was over he was asked if he would meet the star of the town in a bout. He agreed and two hours later they had it out in the opera house before a crowd of 300 persons. Lewis won after a tough battle.
There was not a town in the state that didn't have its champion wrestler, and a fellow didn't have much trouble getting a match, although there was little financial return. He met several of the other boys in the small towns and defeated them. It was not until shortly after he had left college, a little more than three years ago, that he decided to take up wrestling. Freddie Beell, the Marshfield star, visited Grand Rapids, and as Lewis was the champion of the town a match was quickly made. Lewis didn't know how good Beell was at the time, but it didn't take him long to find out.
DESCRIBES MATCH WITH BEELL
He describes that match:
"Beell suggested to me just before we met that we make it a handicap match, that he would throw me twice in an hour. His offer made me angry, for I thought I was a real wrestler, and I told him it would have to be a finish contest or there would be no match. He agreed. What Beell did to me was something awful. He threw me twice in an hour, but he could have done it much more quickly. He just let me stay to punish me and he taught me a good lesson. For two weeks after that bout I had to hold my head up with one hand and eat with the other, so severely did he wrench my neck. That match also gave me the idea that I could make good, and so not long after that I made a trip out west meeting anybody I could get on. I met (Stanislaus) Zbyszko at Minneapolis and won twice from him, not allowing him to secure falls on me in fifteen minute handicaps."
Lewis was wrestling in Lexington, Ky., when his present manager, Jerry Walls, saw him, and immediately took hold of his affairs. That was about a year ago. Lewis has made Lexington his headquarters ever since. He secured the position of wrestling and boxing instructor at Kentucky university, which he held for a year, resigning in order to go out after championship honors.
SOME OF HIS VICTIMS
Among some of Lewis' victims to date are Jack Leon, William Demetral, and Dr. B.F. Roller. Lewis met Roller twice at Lexington. In the first match last spring the physician was the winner in straight falls, the first fall being won on a toe hold in 52 minutes and the second in 1 1/2 minutes.
In their second meeting, on Sept. 18, Lewis turned the tables by winning the match in one fall, when Roller's ribs cracked from the famous scissors across the body hold. Demetral won one match from Lewis, but in the second Lewis was the victor.
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