Harry Ekizian / Ali Baba ALI BABA Harry Ekizian was born on June 21, 1901 in Armenia, where he wrestled his first opponent at the age of twelve - a bear. He came to America in 1918 when he was seventeen years old. He might have started wrestling in Boston between 1918 and 1923. In 1923 he joined the United States Navy. He become a well known wrestler and held the Fleet Championship in Middleweight, Lightweight and Heavyweight divisions. He was discharged in 1931. In the early thrities he wrestled un der his real name. In the mid - thirties he wrestled as Ali Yumid. On March 11, 1935 in Greeley, Colorado, he wrestled (as Ali Yumid) a twenty minute match against Tex`Wright, (of Dallas), who died after the bout. In 1936 he started wrestling as Ali Baba. On April 24, 1936 he officially changed his name to Ali Baba. The next day he defeated Dick Shikat for the world heavyweight championship in Detroit. His manager was Adam Weissmuller, cousin of Johnny Weissmuller. Weissmuller managed him for five years. On June 12, 1936, Dave Levin defeated him in Newark, New Jersey, by DQ, but Baba was still recgonized as the world champion by the National Boxing and National Wrestling Association (NBA/NWA). Ali Baba defended his world title against all comers, but on June 26, 1936 he was defeated by Everett Marshall in Cleveland, Ohio. Baba continued wrestling until 1940, when he decided to hang up his trunks. From 1940 to 1946 he retired from wrestling and spent time with his family on his California orange grove in San Luis Obispo. In April 1946 he returned to ring action until 1950 when he wrestled his last match. This time when he walked away from wrestling, he never looked back. During his career he is said to have wrestled 3,600 matches all over the world. Now that his wrestling career was over, he decided to become a masseur in the Dinuba, California area. He had always been interested in massage and physical and had set broken arms and legs in the Navy. He remained active for the rest of his life. When he was 72 he was still jogging three or four miles a day and doing a thousand squats and 150 pushups. He died on November 16, 1981 in San Luis Obespo. He was 80 years old. He was survuved by his wife, Henrietta, son. Gregory and two daughters, Marilyn and Diana. He was buried in Smith Mountain Cemetery in Dinuba, California.
Crimson Mask I
quote:Originally posted by bobasorous: In 1936 he started wrestling as Ali Baba. On April 24, 1936 he officially changed his name to Ali Baba. The next day he defeated Dick Shikat for the world heavyweight championship in Detroit. His manager was Adam Weissmuller, cousin of Johnny Weissmuller. Weissmuller managed him for five years. On June 12, 1936, Dave Levin defeated him in Newark, New Jersey, by DQ, but Baba was still recgonized as the world champion by the National Boxing and National Wrestling Association (NBA/NWA). Ali Baba defended his world title against all comers, but on June 26, 1936 he was defeated by Everett Marshall in Cleveland, Ohio.
As has been noted before, this sequence is very important in understanding the world title history and the unraveling of the Wrestling Trust and the rise of the territory system. The preceding piece was Shikat (who was embroiled in legal actions against the Trust) shooting on O'Mahoney and taking the at-that-point-somewhat-unified title in a doublecross, and then returning to the fold by dropping the title to Baba.
I may be wrong, but I don't think Ekizian was recognized by the NBA/NWA...I know he was recognized by the New York State Athletic Commission until his loss to Levin, at which point the NY commission stopped recognizing its own champ...
As the previous post stated, Ekizian continued to defend the title until losing to Everett Marshall on June 26, 1936, at the time Marshall was the Midwest Wrestling Association World Champion (promoted by Al Haft), however, the Illinois State Athletic Commission did not recognize this match, and Marshall had to beat him again, on November 20, 1936 in Chicago, for recognition in Illinois
Where was everyone when I was putting the Ali Baba record book together 5 or 6 years ago. I had to put the story together from old news clips.
Ekizian was well known in Pasadina Calif. When he wrestled in the city after he became Baba a local reporter would spill out facts about him. He graduated fron Pasadena High School in 1917 and was attending Pasadena JR College as a wrestler in 1919.
He moved to Boston in 1920 to work in his uncle's fish store. He hung out in gyms and wrestled in small clubs but local promoters wouldn't use him because of size (5'5" & 195 lbs).
He joined the navy in 1923. Had his first known pro match vs Tarzan Knight at Boston on July 1, 1924. Both men were in the Navy & it was probably a cheap undercard match that Bowser or whoever thought would be entertaining.
Tim (Payton) send me a Baba interview a few months ago. It was from a Visalia newspaper in, I think, 1960 & he was an old man. A lot of it doesn't match up with what I learned doing the record book. Some of it does match. I don't know what to think & I'm doing other things. He claims he was a slave for 4 years in Constanttinople & saw one man cut off 1,000 heads in one day. I don't know & I wonder if it's my job to worry about it.
His father was am american & it's possible he was born in Pasadena. I'm guessing.