A legendary star of arena battles all over the world and a former World Champion, Brazil
stood 6’6’’ and weighed just over 270 pounds.  He was originally from Benton Harbor,
Michigan.  During the early 1950s, Brazil was introduced to the sport by Joe Savoldi, a
former Notre Dame Football Star, and thoroughly trained.  Savoldi was the man who helped
Brazil invent a maneuver which would dominate opponents for decades to come, the “Coco
Bump.” In his career, Brazil captured the NWA U.S. Heavyweight Title and the NWA World
Tag Team Title on numerous occasions with Art Thomas, Lord Athol Layton, Tony Marino
and The Stomper.

Brazil’s professional debut came in 1953 at Toronto.  Brazil won his first match.  He
continued to wrestle around the Michigan-Ontario region for both Savoldi and Frank
Tunney.  He later ventured to Minneasota and then out further into Canada for an
extended tour to gain experience.  He began to travel with Jim Mitchell, an experienced
grappler known as the Black Panther.  After touring Canada, Brazil went out to San
Francisco, one of the top promotions in the U.S.

In around the middle of 1954, Brazil teamed with Wilbur Snyder to take the NWA
International TV Tag Team Title from Al Lovelock and Tom Rice in Southern California.  He
continued to be managed by Mitchell until the west coast tour was over, and Mitchell retired
to Toledo in 1955.  Brazil captured his first NWA United States Heavyweight Title on
January 28, 1961 in Detroit.  He won the title from the tough Dick the Bruiser.  On February
28th, Bruiser regained the title also in the Motor City.  Brazil ventured to Denver and beat
Bruiser for his second U.S. Title on March 1st at the Auditorium Arena.  The match was tied
at one when the match was stopped by referee Rex Mayes, who declared that the
champion was unable to continue.  An estimated 8,000 fans were in attendance.

Bobo lost the belt back to Dick the Bruiser on March 29th at the Denver Coliseum.  Brazil
missed his “Coco Bump” and was pinned during the third fall.  He used that same coco
bump to defeat Mitsu Arakawa in one-fall at Denver on May 10th.  He beat Dan Miller in 20:
35 at Denver on June 7, 1961.  Brazil teamed with Haystack Calhoun on June 30th against
Killer Kowalski and Dick the Bruiser in a two-of-three-fall match at the Denver Coliseum.  
Brazil was halted by Kowalski in the first when he was caught by the abdominal claw grip.  
He turned the tables using his Coco Bump to win the second over Kowalski, but the other
two participants met in the third and an end result came of it.  Bruiser tossed Calhoun from
the ring and the big man was counted out.  He met and beat Tiny Mills in 11:57 on August
10th in Denver.

On August 31st in Denver, he wrestled Kowalski to a wild 30-minute draw.  He also drew
with the Danny McShain in Denver’s Auditorium Arena on November 17th.  The match went
twenty-minutes.  He lost to Utah Native Don Leo Jonathan on January 17, 1962 in Denver
at the 13:59 mark.  Brazil began to chase NWA World Champion Buddy Rogers, full-time,
waiting for his chance at the championship.  He was scheduled to meet Rogers when the
champ had to pull out due to a “slight” concussion.  Brazil beat Johnny Barend instead.  On
August 18, 1962 in Newark, Bobo beat Rogers and captured the NWA World Title.  The
controversial situation spawned a rift between promoters in the northeast and the rest of
the Alliance main body, but nevertheless, Bobo Brazil was recognized as a World Title
Claimant.  In a rematch with Rogers, Buddy regained the belt.  In another match, Brazil beat
Rogers again but refused the title on a technicality.  During the ‘60s, he was a regular on
Garden cards in New York City.

He toured the Mid-Atlantic Territory and captured the U.S. Heavyweight Title in 1977 from
Blackjack Mulligan.  Brazil dropped the belt to Ric Flair in July.  He continued wrestling into
the early 1990s.  In total, he had four decades of records and mayhem.  Brazil was not only
one of the most popular athletes, he was one of the most gifted.  Through Michigan and
into Ontario, he was legend.  When Brazil ventured out, promoters all over the United
States wanted him to appear.  There weren’t many who could stand toe-to-toe with Bobo
Brazil.  His feuds with the Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher, Dick the Bruiser and Buddy Rogers
remain wrestling lore.

Brazil died of a stroke at the age of 74 on January 20, 1998 in St. Joseph, Michigan.  The
World Wrestling Federation, in honor of his years of activity in the business, paid tribute to
Brazil on its telecasts.

Bobo’s son took to the independent scene in the 1980s and has been one of the top draws
ever since.  His moniker…Bobo Brazil Jr.

Title History:

-A four-time co-holder of the NWA International Television Tag Team Title
       w/ Wilbur Snyder (1954) defeated The Great Bolo and Tom Rice
       w/ Wilbur Snyder (1954) defeated Lord Athol Layton and Lord James Blears
       w/ Sandor Szabo (1954) defeated Lord James Blears and Joe Pazandak
       w/ Primo Carnera (1956) defeated Lord Athol Layton and Lord James Blears
-A two-time co-holder of the NWA World Tag Team Title (CA)
       w/ Enrique Torres (1956-’57) defeated The Sharpe Brothers
       w/ Enrique Torres (1957) defeated The Sharpe Brothers
-NWA United States Heavyweight Title (CA) (1965) defeated Kenji Shibuya
-A two-time WWA World Heavyweight Champion
       -Defeated Buddy Austin (1966)
       -Defeated Buddy Austin (1968)
-A two-time NWA International Heavyweight Champion
       -Defeated Shohei Baba (1968)
       -Defeated Kintaro Ohki (1972)
-A two-time NWA Americas Heavyweight Champion
       -Defeated El Mongol (1968)
       -Defeated Fred Blassie (1969)
-A ten-time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion (CO/ MI)
       -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1961)
       -Defeated Dick the Bruiser (1961)
       -Defeated The Sheik (1965)
       -Defeated The Sheik (1971)
       -Defeated Pampero Firpo (1972)
       -Defeated Pampero Firpo (1972)
       -Defeated The Sheik (1973)
       -Defeated The Sheik (1975)
       -Defeated Abdullah the Butcher (1975)
       -Awarded (1976)
-A six-time co-holder of the NWA World Tag Team Title (MI)
       w/ Lord Athol Layton (1970) defeated The Texas Outlaws
       w/ The Stomper (1973) defeated Ben Justice and Killer Brooks
       w/ Tony Marino (1974) defeated Kurt Von Hess and Karl Von Shotz
       w/ Tony Marino (1974) defeated Ben Justice and Killer Brooks
       w/ Tony Marino (1974) defeated Abdullah the Butcher and Killer Brooks
       w/ Fred Curry (1974) awarded
-Co-holder of the NWA Florida Tag Team Title (1980) w/ Dusty Rhodes
-A two-time WWA World Heavyweight Champion (IN)
       -Defeated Johnny Valiant (1981)
       -Defeated Blackjack Mulligan (1981)
-Motor City North American Heavyweight Title (1990s)

Brazil was extremely popular and often called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by wrestling

The UPI Wire Service reported that Brazil's wife "Mrs. Kathy Brazil, known in the wrestling
ring as 'Wimberley,'" was standing outside the Holland Hotel near Times Square on June
23, 1964 when a teenaged girl was gunned down in an "ambush." Kathy Brazil was not
injured in the shooting, but the 18-year girl, Joan Wilson, was killed.

Sometime prior to June 5, 1963 (Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown, PA), Johnny Barend beat
Brazil for the United States Heavyweight Title, and at least two separate sources stated that
it occurred in Cleveland.  One of the sources is the said newspaper, and there is a
YouTube video of Brazil wrestling champion Barend, where the commentator mentions that
the title switch happened in Cleveland.  Incidentally, that newspaper was promoting a match
between Barend and Brazil for the Philadelphia Arena on Saturday, June 8, 1963, and
according to one website, that was the night that Barend captured the title.  That is illogical
considering this information, but it possible Barend went over Brazil that night in Philly.

Between the mid-1960s and into the early '70s, Bobo Brazil was one of the most significant
wrestlers in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), and his importance cannot be
underestimated.  Looking at the advertising in some cities, Washington, D.C. included,
Brazil's matches were listed above those featuring Bruno Sammartino himself, and Bobo
was a major draw for African American wrestling fans in Baltimore and Philadelphia.  Brazil
reigned as the United States Heavyweight champion in the northeast for a number of years.

Research by Tim Hornbaker
Bobo Brazil Wrestling History
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