Following the death of Prince Kumali in January 2015, Historian Mike Hallinan sends us his comments on Bert Assirati and Prince Kumali
'Sad to read about the death of Kumali, he was a very nice man, always polite, friendly, and very charming with everyone. Although when running his Pub in Battersea, if people cut up rough, he would give them a good hiding. Although slow to boil, once he lost his temper, it was stand back time. I interviewed him about his matches with Assirati, and he said his first match with Assirati, at Croydon Baths was almost his last, Assirati clamped on a side headlock so powerfully, that the bone pushed against his eye socket, and he almost lost the sight of his eye. Moorfields eye hospital specialist`s had to work hard to save the eye, this was back in the winter of 1957. They met again a year later at the Caledonian Road Baths, and Assirati knocked him out in the first round, there was no carrying of wrestlers in those days, Assirati had an early night, and walked up the road to his Mother`s house after the match.They stayed good friends over the years, and if Assirati came up from Brighton to London, he would visit Kumali at his Battersea Pub. They wrestled six times to packed out houses, and before wrestling at Croydon Baths the Promoters would hang a giant banner across the railway bridge advertising their match "Assirati the reigning champion of Europe Vs Kumali the giant Gold coast champion'
The above photo was taken at Lou Ravelles Charing Cross Gym back in 1958, you can see Bert Assirati, his Wife Marjorie, Charlie Green, Lou Ravelle, and Lee "Flash" Barker, Prince Kumali (Gordon Petrie) is so tall they just about get him in the photograph.