Greek "Leg Specialist" Packs Them In

Originally published in New Zealand Sports Digest, August 1956


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August, 1956 N .2. SPORTS DIGEST Page 63 GREEK “LEG SPECIALIST" PACKS THEM IN Johxnliostas (pictured putting Al Uostello through the- air- plane spm), is easily the top attraction among the new wrestlers on show in New Zealand this winter. The Greek is cast in the mould of the great. exponents of leg holds seen here. He concedes little to men like Rollend Kirchmeyer’ and Otto Kuss, generally regarded here as the best of the “leg” men. Kostas is one product of the lend—lease between New Zealand and Australia who has been ac- cepted as a good one in this coun- try. He had been in Australia from April until June, and gave both Melbourne and Sydney mat seasons their best starts in years. Kostas’s outstanding trans- Tasman performances were his clashes with another bare—footed matman, A10 Leilani, the islander who impressed local ringsiders last year. or one of the two Leilani-Kostas bouts, both drawn, a Sydney newspaper commented: “Samoan A10 Leilani (23311).) and Greek John Kostas (2351b.) furnished a fine wrestle last night at Leichhardt Stadium. Both bare-footed, they exceeded all speed limits, and at the end of eight exciting rounds, at one— fall-each draw was declared.” Kpstas also had five bouts against The Great Zorro, the only opponentto defeat him in Aus- tralia. Zorro lost two of. the bouts when he was disqualified, one was drawn, and Kostas lost two, the Greek also being ruled out on one occasion. John Kostas, born Kostolias in a small Grecian village, Kaplanio, just over 30 years ago, has lived in South America since 1940. He joined his migrant father in Buenos Aires in 1940, subsequent- ly quitting the Argentine for Brazil. Kostas now calls Rio de Janiero his home, and has a successful wrestling and body— building academy there. An intelligent wrestler who has studied various styles, even Indian, he is a judo exponent (Page 98. please)

V JOHN KOSTAS PACKING THEM IN (Continued from page 63), and claims to be a black belt mane Kostas’s best hold is the flying leg—nelson, although the writer has yet to see him produce this here. Among modern wrestling’s more tongue-in—cheek manoeuvres is his Greek back—breaker. The globe—trotting Greek has appeared in wrestlin bouts in Argentine. Brazil, t e U.S.A., Canada, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexi- co, Australia and now, New Zea- land. He had been unbeaten in 76 bouts in Rio de Janiero be- fore proceeding to America just after the war. The late Tony Stecher. whose Minneapolis wrest- ling ofiice was among the busiest in the game, gave him his start there—as he did Pat O’Connor—- and showed him what would be required in American rings. Kostas is a. married man with two boys. “I teach them how to wrestle,” he says, “but I don’t want them to be professionals, One wanderer in the family is enough.”