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Al Hobman

Al HobmanWrestling Weight 110 kg

Present Weight 96 kg

Height 1.85 metres

Titles held:

Mr Australasia and Mr New Zealand Body Building Title 1951. Heavyweight New Zealand Wrestling champion.

Bio:

My sporting career started in college with athletics and rugby union. Later I played rugby in Lock position for Oriental Rongotai. I weighed around 75 kgs. At this weight I got hurt nearly every match, coming up against 100 -130 kg opponents. A good friend introduced me to weight lifting, so with careful nutrition and the weights, I very slowly gained bodyweight to around 110 kgs. I didn’t get hurt so badly anymore!

In the early 1960’s I started training at Koolmans Gym in Cuba Street, Wellington. It was the home of boxing, wrestling and weight lifting. In those days the gym was jam packed with athletes every day. I became the sparring partner to dozens of overseas wrestlers and boxers. The call of wrestling claimed me and from then on wrestling was my career and the experience I gained led me to my first bout against Australian Rick Wallace, in the Wellington Town Hall. I lost – two falls to one. From there, I’ve wrestled in just about every town and city in New Zealand, from Kaitaia to Invercargill. I then went on to Australia to work for the Greek promoter, George Gardiner. Later, the Canadian and Commonwealth champ, Gordon Nelson, signed me up for Japan. Then came bouts in Canada, the USA, Singapore, Tahiti, Malaysia, Cook Islands and Hawaii.

Al HobmanSome of my toughest matches:

  1. Wrestling Bruno Becker in New Plymouth with Lofty Blomfield as referee. The takings for this event went to the Intellectually Handicapped Children’s Society. Most of the full house came to see ‘Lofty’ I think. He was the President of this society and the most famous of all New Zealand wrestlers.
  2. Against ex World Champion Pat O’Connor in the Wellington Town Hall. The result was a draw.

  3. Against John Da Silva in Wellington. The result – a win. Two falls to one.

  4. Against World Champion Gene Kiwinski in Portland, Oregon.

In New Zealand I wrestled for the New Zealand Wrestling Union, South Pacific Wrestling Association, Central Wrestling Association and Steve Rickard Promotions. For a few years I was promoting for the Central Wrestling Association.

My son Kurt wrestled professionally and holds a Karate Black belt. My daughter Linda, along with a Dutch opponent, were the first two women wrestlers to fight in New Zealand. Before this time it was illegal for women to wrestle. She wrestled under the name of Linda Tyson.

At present I train three times a week at weight training. I believe in the wise old saying “The older you are, the greater the need for vigorous exercise”.

September 2007