A Great Russian Champion Ivan Poddubny

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In the end of the XIX century Ivan Poddubny showed the whole world the power of Russian people. His physical ability, strength, incredible victories were associated with the country his was from.

He was from the family of Zaporozhye Cossacks. When he was a child he already showed a remarkable strength easily doing  the hardest work. His first partner and coach was his father. For Ivan he was the strongest  and the wisest.
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When he didn’t get the permission to marry his first love Alyona Vityak he left Poltava Province for Sevastopol. Later he moved to Greece. Soon he began to perform with a circus of Ivan Beskorovainy. Since he lost some fights against professional athlets he didn’t give any rest to his body. He was following the rigorous sports regimen: doing exercises with the heaviest weights, acclimation, diet, restraining from smoking and alcohol.

Ivan was incredible on the arena! His most prominent performances were the ones with a telegraph pole (it was put on his shoulders and from both sides dozen of people were hanging on it) and “a belt fight”: rivals stretched belts behind their waists and tried to knock  each other down.

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He fell in love with an acrobat Masha Dozmarova, so fragile and petite, that he seemed to be a giant near her. He wanted to marry Masha but she died during the performance and broke his heart.

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Ivan became popular in Paris too, when being unknown there he won 11 fights.

The noticeable day of his biography was a day when he fought with Raoul Le Boucher, the champion of France.  He was 15 years younger and higher by 2 cm duel began in a very fast pace. All techniques of Russian fighter failed one by one. Bush slid out of his clinch. Then Poddubny guessed that some Frenchman oiled fat. He said protest. The judges checked and found out that Bush himself smeared with olive oil. This was a blatant violation. Boucher wiped dry, but as soon as he started sweat, oil performed again. French judge instead set off his defeat, decided to wipe dodger every 5 minutes. This is not helped – sweat came out again. French Judges enrolled more points Poddubny withdrawn from the event. Crowded hall imaginary victory Boucher met deathly silence.

Russian athletic company offered Le Boucher Piddubny fight again, and guaranteed him victory when the prize of 10,000 francs. But the Frenchman from this offer refused. Piddubny after the championship went to the village. He decided to quit sports. Only long coaxing friends and forced the coach to change the decision.

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The family of Ivan Poddubny – mother, father, brother.

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Poddubny received numerous invitations to tours in many countries. The strongest opponent was a Pole Stanislaw Zbyszko-Cyganiewicz and Poddubny finally prevailed over him in the United States.

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He died undefeated in Eysk on August 8, 1949. Ivan was buried in the city park named after his name. There was an inscription on the black tomb stone: “Here lies the Russian bogatyr”.

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18 thoughts on “A Great Russian Champion Ivan Poddubny”

  1. Too bad he didn’t live long enough to make it to television in the States. In the ’50’s wrestling was a staple programming feature in all stations. Easy guess as to his stage persona? It’s “Ivan the Terrible” against Moose Cholok!


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