Waino Ketonen Challenges the Lancashire Wrestlers 1911

 Photo: Waino Ketonen


By Mark S. Hewitt


In the late summer of 1911, Waino Ketonen invaded England to challenge the Lancashire wrestlers and further solidify his claim to the welterweight crown. Ketonen was accompanied by Tom Duchesne and their manager Edward Levasseur. Ketonen, though originally from Finland, and Duchesne were leading exponents of the rough-and-ready North American-style professional catch-as-catch-can wrestling. They were bringing their grappling skills to the cradle of catch wrestling-Lancashire County in North West England. On behalf of Ketonen, Levasseur issued an open challenge that the Finn could throw any British welterweight 2x in an hour, or any middleweight in a two-out-of-three falls contest. They were ready to put up wagers to back their boasts.

Duchesne, from Fall River, MA had toured Britian the previous year and brought home first place honors in a Welsh tournament. This time, Ketonen was the star and Duchesne was along mostly as a...

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