When Brian Maxine clinched the British welterweight championship with an eighth round submission over Alan Sergeant on 30th September, 1969, most wrestling pundits forecast that his reign would be little more than a flash in the pan.
Legends, however, are not made of flashes in the proverbial pan, and entertaining fans for five decades cannot be described as a flash in the pan by anyone.
Goldbelt Maxine didn’t just hold on to the title that he won at Croydon on that historical night, but he added a second Mountevans belt, the middleweight title, less than two years later, thereby becoming the first wrestler to simultaneously hold titles in both divisions.
No one, except the man himself, forecast that almost forty years on he would have remained the proud possessor of the Mountevans belt that was first fastened around his waist all those years ago.
Here is a wrestler who can boast of wrestling at the highest level in each of five decades.
No other can claim to have been part of the 1960s spirit of innovation that led to wrestling becoming Britain’s most popular indoor spectator sport and also part of the twenty-first century wrestling scene.
These are the credentials of the man that told us just to call him Goldbelt.
Brian Maxine was born in Liverpool on 13th August 1938. His older brother by three years, Alfred, was also to go on to become a professional wrestler. Whilst a child the family moved to Ellesmere Port, the Cheshire town with which he was associated by most wrestling fans.
Brian had an interest in boxing, but he turned to wrestling to make a living. We first find his name on the wrestling posters in 1962. Working for independent promoters the young twenty-something found himself learning the trade against the likes of Jim Mellor, Shem Singh, Johnny Saint and Jon Cortez.
During those first few years when he was learning the trade there were few, if any, that saw the potential of the youngster from Ellesmere Port. With a couple of years experience under his belt Brian was signed up to work for Joint Promotions. His first television appearance arrived in 1965. Dale Martin Promotions did him no favours at all, matching Brian against Mick McManus, with the inevitable consequence.
There were the occasional tell-tale signs, like a KO win over World Champion Jim Lewis, and a draw with Mick McManus, but there was little that made the youngster stand out from the crowd. He gradually made an impression on fans, and some muted that here was a man destined to replace Mick McManus as Britain’s top villain. For most of the 1960s that was not a view shared by promoters and, though remaining a regular worker, Brian was not given the necessary push to catapult him to the top.
All that was about to change in 1969. A failed attempt, earlier in the year, to wrest the welterweight crown from popular champion Alan Sergeant, had done nothing to alert the fans to the cataclysmic event they were about to witness. At his second attempt, at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon on 30th September, 1969, Maxine took the title from the Romford champion. It took eight rounds for the belt to change hands. An opening fall with Brian countering Sergeant’s fifth round fall with submissions in rounds seven and eight.
Titles do change hands, and so, albeit a surprise, the result wasn’t particularly out of the ordinary for the fans that night, most thinking Sergeant would regain the title t some future date. Until …. The day following the title change the metamorphosis began.