When wrestling was at the height of its popularity from the 1930s through to the 1950s, Maynell Strathmore Blomfield was its high priest.
He was the New Zealander who could take on allcomers and what’s more, he invented and perfected his own specialist hold, the octupus clamp, to which only the best could devise a counter.
Blomfield was the first New Zealand amateur heavyweight champion, winning the title in 1931, the year after the National Wrestling Union was formed, and he turned professional the following year.
His wrestling took him to the United States and Canada for bouts against world titleholders and at home he had sellout crowds, especially when he met and beat the Canadian Earl McCready, who was generally regarded as the finest wrestler to visit New Zealand.
Blomfield fought for the world title in 1938 but the bout against “Bronko” Nagurski was drawn. He won the British Empire title in Wellington in 1940, but lost it to McCready later in the year.
When he retired in 1949, Blomfield had wrestled five world titleholders in New Zealand, beating three of them and drawing two.
Of his 490 bouts in New Zealand, he won 385.