Gotch in Talk of Dawson

Journal of Combative Sport November 1999

From The Yukon World, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, March 24, 1907

 Now that Frank Gotch is a top-notcher in the world of sport as a champion wrestler, he is given to talking of the glories of his past and the victories he scored. In one of these reminiscent moods he told a reporter the story of what he calls his first match, which was when he ran against Frank Slavin in the Klondike. This is how Gotch describes it:

 "After I had won at wrestling, the miners up there thought I must be invincible in any sport, so they matched me with Frank Slavin, the Australian heavyweight, who was there at that time. Well, Slavin was never much of a slouch at boxing, and no matter what any one tells you, he was better that night than he ever was in his life -- at least, I think so. He must have hit at me fully 300 times in that scrap, and I didn't let one of the blows get by me. I stopped them all with my head or my body. The fight went seven rounds -- or at least, that is what they told men the next day when I came to."

 There are evidently a great many things that Gotch has forgotten, or would like to forget. The match he refers to did not last seven rounds. It was in the fourth round, when Slavin was undoubtedly getting the best of it, that Gotch lost his head and started to wrestle. He took Slavin by the middle and upended him. Judgment was then given against him for fouling.

 At that time Gotch's name was Frank Kennedy. He was brought here by Ole Marsh, having for some time before been traveling with Farmer Burns. Not only had a different name but he posed as a United States soldier, just in from the Philippines.

Ed. Note: Frank Gotch was arguably the most technically proficient US professional wrestler of the twentieth century; Farmer Burns was his mentor. Frank Slavin was a competent heavyweight boxer of the period. And Ole Marsh was a pseudonym of Joe Carroll, a man convicted in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on March 9, 1910 of using the US mails to fix horse races, foot races, and (say it ain't so!) wrestling matches.  -Joseph Svinth

JCS Nov 1999