Combat Arts & Sports Historical Library 

Legendary Athletes 

We hope you will enjoy browsing our Library containing reproductions and original articles documenting the evolution of Combat Arts and Sports throughout the ages. 

Man Mountain by Steve Maynard

Man MountainReproduction.  Published in Man's World Magazine, October 1953.
Contributed by Peter Yates


PRIMO CARNERA - “He can’t box or punch,” they said… …but he beat the best and won the championship with one blow!

They called him the ‘Man Mountain’, ‘Satchel Feet’ and the ‘Ambling A/p’… …but he won the Heavyweight Championship of the World!

The Story of Jesse James by Norman Miller

Jesse JamesTwo part installment published in Strength and Health magazine in Dec. 1930 and Jan. 1939
Contributed by Peter Yates


"Jesse James - handsome, powerful, fast as light.  Built his body from a slender country lad to the fine proportions shown here.  This is a story of a slender country lad of mixed parentage who climbed the hard road from an ambition born during his immaturity, to the heights in the wrestling world.  Always ambitious to be strong and to excel physically.   Jesse James planned his own destiny the night he saw Jimmy Londos wrestle near his own hometown in Texas." -Norman Miller

Marvin Mercer, Wrestling Sensation  by Dale Cedo

Marvin Mercer, Wrestling SensationPublished in Strength & Health March 1949
Contributed by Peter Yates


"In recent years MARVIN MERCER has come into the foreground as a star professional heavyweight wrestler.  The unusual agility, speed and power he displays in bouts is reminiscent of the former champion Jim Londos.

Mercer like Londos has done a considerable amount of training with the weights " -Clevio Massimo

I Can Lift Half a Ton On A Wrestler’s Bridge by Clevio Massimo 

Wrestler's BridgePublished in the February 1925 issue of Muscle Builder magazine


"I can lift 1,000 pounds on a Wrestler’s Bridge.  I am the world’s champion at that style of lifting. The nearest approach to my record was a Wrestler’s Bridge lift of 850 pounds made some time ago. In my line I fear no rival.  Why should I with an edge of 150 pounds on my nearest competitor.  Besides, I am increasing my muscular development and adding to my strength constantly by persistent exercises and a strict adherence to diet at all times, and someday – probably in the near future – I shall better my own record." -Clevio Massimo

Len Harvey by by E.R. Treharne

Len Harvey and Thomas InchPublished in March 1956 Reg Park Journal
Contributed by Peter Yates


"To attempt to write the life story of Len Harvey in one article is almost impossible, as this great glove artist’s ring career lasted twenty-two years.  He fought his first recorded contest in 1920, beating Kid Roberts on points at Plymouth.  During his outstanding career, Harvey won the British middle-weight title, British light-heavyweight, British and Empire heavyweight championships."

Getting Ready for Action by Earl Maynard 

Earle MaynardPublished in "Muscle Training Illustrated" - Oct. 1971
Contributed by Peter Yates


"Former Mr. Universe Earl Maynard tells how he maintains his physique in spite of hectic wresting schedules, and why he is planning to make a comeback in WBBG competition on Sept. 11, 1971."

What Happens When a Lifter Takes to the Ring by Ed Theriault

Seymour KoenigPublished in the 1960 issue of Muscle Builder magazine.


"Good lifters make good wrestlers – if they’re smart. Seymour Koenig is a weightlifter.  He’s also smart. On the coast they think he’s good enough to be a champ."
"What makes a good wrestler?  Strength, determination, guts and know-how.  Just about the same things go to make a good weightlifter.  And that’s how Seymour Koenig became a wrestler!"

How I Got and Keep my Fighting Muscles by Jack Dempsey, World’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion

Jack DempseyPublished in "Muscle Builder" magazine - A MacFadden publication


"Swinging all the way from the shoulder, I want to put across this verbal wallop – there is just one way to build up a complement of A-1 muscles, to make one’s self genuinely sound and fit, and that is by hard work, hard exercise and hard play; by putting all you’ve got behind your every punch, whether it be physical or mental. “Fight is my business.  And, at my business, I have met with an unusual measure of success simply because I practiced what I preached, made myself a first-class athlete by persistent effort; by the hardest kind of work."

"The Black Prince" Peter Jackson by Daniel Carver

Peter JacksonContributed by Author.


"The Black Prince" Peter Jackson, also nicknamed "Peter the Great", was one of the top boxers in the world during the late 19th century. He was a tall, tough, smooth and elusive boxer-puncher, and possessed a menacing One-Two combination. In his prime Jackson had size, strength, speed and excellent footwork, and many boxing historians consider him to have been the best heavyweight boxer of the 1880's and early 1890's, despite John L. Sullivan being the Heavyweight Champion of the World during that era, and Jackson is to this day considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time."

The Russian Lion  by A. M. Saldo

George HackenschmidtDescription

The Author recalls his initial impression of George Hackenschmidt; "I first saw Hack in the flesh in November, 1901, during the Tournament in Paris for the Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship of the World.  At that time I had been a professional athlete for over a year, and had appeared as early as 1900 at the royal Aquarium, London for a six months’ engagement.  But I knew very little about wrestling then.  However, I recognized a glorious athlete when I saw one, and I prophesied Hack, as the winner from the ‘line up.”  There were assembled for this tournament, some 130 wrestlers – the cream of Athletic Europe, and there is no doubt that although Hack was far from being the biggest man there, he was the strongest, the quickest and the brainiest."

Martin 'Farmer' Burns by Gordon Anderson

Martin Farmer BurnsIn his time Farmer Burns wrestled over 6,000 matches in every type of situation from grading camps to circuses and lost only 7.


 Burns won the World Wrestling Title in 1895 when he defeated Evan "Strangler" Lewis and retained the title until 1897 when he was defeated by Tom Jenkins. He later won and held the light heavy weight title until 1908. Burns weighed only 175 pound but defeated many of the great wrestlers of the day-some of which out weighed him by 50 or 100 pounds. He had a very strong neck that measured 20 inches and allowed him to perform one of his favorite stunts of doing a six foot hangmans drop which he performed many times.

Lessons in Wrestling & Physical Culture by Farmer Burns School of Wrestling

Lessons of the famous Farmer Burns Mail Order Course in 1913
First two of a 12 lesson course. Contributed by Gordon Anderson
Lesson 1  l  Lesson 2Lesson 3

These reproductions are fully restored due to the condition and age of the course (text was interpreted in a couple of cases).

The Boston Strong Boy by Bill Pullum, Jr.

boxing historyPublished in the December 1945 issue of Muscle Power magazine and penned by Bill Pullum, Jr.  We assume Bill is the son of the "Wizard of Weightlifting", W.A. Pullum.


The subject of our first installation is the "Boston Strong Boy," boxer John l. Sullivan and is a great way to kick off information on the 'sweet science" and it's colorful characters. Sullivan spanned the time when bare knuckle fighting under London prize fight rules was being replaced by gloved boxing and he was well proficient in both. Unfortunately like many naturally robust individuals he took his strength and vigor for granted and frequently engaged in heavy eating and drinking bouts that no doubt contributed to his untimely death at 59. However from all accounts he was a magnificent athlete in his time and deserves his place in boxing history.

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