STUDENTS at Marty Jones’ Squared Circle Professional Wrestling Academy were mentored by some of the biggest stars from the sport’s heyday.
Eddie Riley, Colin Joynson, Mal Sanders and Lee Branson, along with Jones, regularly featured when wrestling was screened on ITV’s World of Sport each Saturday.
And they all stopped off at the Hollinwood-based boxing academy on their way to Leeds for the annual reunion of the television wrestlers.
They were there to watch a training session and, as the pictures show, Sanders even got to grapple as he gave a practical demonstration of a move.
When the sport was at its peak, wrestling has two superstars from the town, Jones and Johnny Saint who were both from Failsworth and trained at Billy Robinson’s gym near Failsworth Pole.
Marty now mentors tomorrow’s stars and says it is about keeping the legacy of wrestling alive for future generations.
His reputation is such that two aspiring women Italian wrestlers Ambra Dunavat and Andrea Buccelli, both from near Venice, recently spent one week at the academy.
“Our dream is to become wrestlers. We heard about Marty and came here to train with him,” explained Ambra.
Former rugby player Peter Collins, 31, from Bradford is another convert.
The father-of-four, who works as a sales executive, had played as a second row forward and flanker for Bradford and Bingley in the third tier of rugby union before deciding to switch to wrestling.
Peter, who was in Bradford Bulls’ rugby league academy as a youngster, has also earlier practiced Olympic wrestling in his teens.
“I switched back to wrestling as I wanted a bigger challenge and because I had always been interested in it,” he said.
The youngest student at the academy is 13-year-old Melina Cole from Chorlton.
She recently had her first competitive fight when Marty out on a show at Royton Band Club.
Melina, who has been training twice a week for just over one year, said: “My brother did Olympic wrestling which is how I became interested.
“When I watched WWE on television, I saw some big girls fighting and they inspired me. I would love to become a professional wrestler.”
Anyone interested in taking up wrestling can contact Marty on 07751 978593.