Bartolomeo “Bert” Assirati was a British Heavyweight Champion in wrestling born in 1908 in England. Aside from his impressive professional wrestling career, Assirati very much enjoyed various feats of strength. He set a British record in 1938 when he pulled over a 200 pound barbell at arms length while lying on the back. He was also capable of performing an iron cross on the rings with 240 pounds in bodyweight. Pretty impressive!
He started training at the age of 12 and five years later he organized an acrobatic stage duo Mello and Nello, performing various hand balancing feats across ports they could reach. Only when he turned 20, Assirati got involved in professional wrestling while still training with weights. He was so strong at the time, that he could easily do a one arm handstand, as you may see in the picture below.
He won his first official wrestling British Heavyweight Champion title in 1945 and the European Heavyweight Championship two years later. In 1950 he decided to leave British Wrestling Association and travel to India to wrestle, which consequently led to loss of his British Heavyweight Championship titles. A similar scenario happened a few more times during his career, but it seems like Assirati was determined to improve his skill in wrestling – no matter what.
Assirati suffered an injury in 1960, which stopped him from competing professionally. Eventually, he got a job as a doorman at the Ebbisham Halls in Epsom, Surrey in order to support himself and he died in 1990, only to become a member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame posthumously.
If you are looking to get started with wrestling, check out Don Powers Catch Wrestling for Cops and learn the ropes of old-time strongman training.
Bert Asserati was trained I think at Wigan in England and even was talked about by guys like Billy Robinson, Karl Gotch and others. He was fierce and his feats mostly overshadowed his wrestling. I think one of his feats was taking 90 lb. dumbbell in each hand and doing a backflip.
Thanks for the extra info Ben. I hadn’t heard about the back flip. That’s amazing!