It was in December 1962 that Reg Trood made his television debut, at the recently opened Fairfield Halls, against Glasgow's Clayton Thompson. The young Londoner, a professional for less than five years demonstrated the technical ability to hold his own with the Scottish light heavyweight champion, the match ending in a one fall apiece draw. It was a style and an ability that was to earn him the title "The Classical Stylist."
Armchair fans may not have been quite so surprised with the performance of the novice had they known he already held verdicts over renowned mat men including Basil Coulolias, Joe Murphy, and visiting overseas stars George Passalaris, Juda Ischa Israel and Roberto Ricetti. These, along with victories over promising youngsters Bob Anthony and Jon Cortez no doubt drew Reg to the attention of Dale Martin Promotions, who had signed him up less than two months earlier at the beginning of November, 1962.
As a youngster Reg was sports mad. His time was shared between boxing, wrestling, swimming, and weight lifting; it's a wonder he had time for any homework. With the Second World War a recent memory Reg was naturally called up for his two years national service. Fortunately for Reg he was appointed Physical Training Instructor and was able to pursue most of his sporting interests. These were to remain an important part of his adult life, with running, swimming and weight lifting playing a major role in his training regime after joining the professional wrestling ranks.
On completion of his National Service Reg became a regular attendee at his local west London YMCA where he pursued his interest in lifting weights and amateur wrestling. It was here that former wrestler Mike Demitre met Reg. Impressed by the young amateur from Kensington Mike encouraged Reg to give the professional style a try. Chic Osmond, Adrian Street and Pasquale Salvo were also regulars at the YMCA in West London and they and Reg became friends and trained together.
Reg didn't need much encouragement, and not long afterwards was making his professional debut against Chic Linton at Bermondsey Baths. Reg was one of the first signings of independent promoter Paul Lincoln, whilst also working for other independents, including Devereux, Black Butcher Johnson, Bert Assirati and Jack Taylor. His move to Joint Promotions in November, 1962, was more than three years before the eventual Lincoln and Dale Martin merger. They figured that if Paul Lincoln valued the youngster so much then there was a place for him on their bills.
Signing up to Joint Promotions brought encounters with far more experienced men such as Steve Logan,Les Kellett, and Johnny Kwango. Many youngsters might have been intimidated by such illustrious opposition, but Reg seemed to take it all in his style and allowed nothing to interfere with his methodical style of overcoming the opposition.
Starting out as a welterweight Reg soon began to fill out and eventually graduated through the divisions and worked as a light heavyweight. Quite early in his career Reg wrestled in France and Spain, later wrestling in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and as far as Kuwait and Israel. In the early 1960s Reg declared he had fallen in love with Spain, and on his retirement set up home, with his wife Pat, in the coastal town of Gandia, on the Costa del Azahar.
In Britain Reg worked almost exclusively in southern England for Dale Martin Promotions. We can only think this was his choice because Wryton Promotions would use him on their midlands shows and Norman Morrell was more than happy to book him regularly for his Lime Grove Bath promotions. Mind you, Reg must have earned his money the night Morell put him on against the much heavier Kendo Nagasaki.
The magic of television did make Reg a familiar figure to fans throughout the country, and those countries to whom ITV sold their weekly wrestling productions. That television debut against Clay Thomson was followed a few weeks later against Johnny Kwango and by another twenty-nine television appearances against opponents including Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo and Masambula, until his final tv contest against Peter Rann in February, 1973.
Whilst taking part in explosive matches with villains such as Mick McManus, Steve Haggetty, Brian Maxine (right) and Steve Logan, where he showed an ability to mix it, Reg is probably best remembered for his classical matches with the likes of Spencer Churchill, Bob Kirkwood and Tony Rocca (above left).
Following his transfer to Joint Promotions in 1962 Reg worked for the country's top syndicate until 1977. It was a busy career, working most nights of the week. Obviously valued by the promoters who gave him so much work many fans were surprised that Dale Martin didn't give him a bigger push. A man of considerable talent Reg did work alongside the best in the business but was destined to remain a mid card contender. Admittedly with so much talent available in the 1960s and 1970s not everyone could climb to the top of the tree, but enthusiasts of the time are in no doubt that the Classical Stylist was one of the best.
Reg Trood passed away at his home in Gandia, Spain in January 2013.