Bobo Brazil

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Bobo Brazil
Bobo Brazil - 1972 BODY PRESS WRESTLING MAGAZINE (cropped).jpg
Birth nameHouston Harris[1]
Born(1924-07-10)July 10, 1924[1]
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.[1]
DiedJanuary 20, 1998(1998-01-20) (aged 73)[1]
St. Joseph, Michigan, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Bobo Brazil[2]
Boo-Boo Brazil[3]
BuBu Brasil[1]
Houston Harris[4]
Billed height6 ft 6 in (198 cm)[1][2]
Billed weight270 lb (122 kg)[2]
Billed fromBenton Harbor, Michigan[3]
Trained byJoe Savoldi[1]

Houston Harris[1] (July 10, 1924 – January 20, 1998)[1] was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Bobo Brazil. Credited with breaking down barriers of racial segregation in professional wrestling, Harris is considered one of the first successful African-American professional wrestlers.[3][5]

Early life[edit]

Houston Harris was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but later lived in East St. Louis, Illinois, and Benton Harbor, Michigan.[1] He played baseball in the Negro Leagues for The House of David, where he was discovered to become a wrestler at a steel mill.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Harris was trained by Joe Savoldi after meeting him at matches at the Naval Armory.[1] Savoldi originally named Harris, BuBu Brasil, "The South American Giant," but a promoter misprinted his first name as "Bobo" in an advertisement and it stuck.[3]

Early in his career, some wrestling promoters would match Brazil against fellow African American wrestlers, including Ernie Ladd and Abdullah the Butcher.[3] Fans clamored to see Brazil face opponents of any type and Brazil would have many matches with competitors such as Killer Kowalski, Dick the Bruiser, Johnny Valentine, and The Sheik, who feuded with Brazil over the course of several decades.[3][6] These and other rivals would all fall victim to Brazil's finishing maneuver, the Coco Butt. Brazil also once wrestled Bill Miller to a draw,[7] and challenged Bruno Sammartino for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship in a battle of two top babyface competitors.[3] On October 18, 1962, Brazil made history by becoming the first African American to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers (this distinction is usually given to Ron Simmons, the first recognized African American world champion after winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship). Although Brazil initially refused the title (because of an "injury" that Rogers had claimed to have), Brazil was awarded the title the next day after doctors had found nothing wrong with Rogers. However, this title change is not recognized by the NWA.[8]

On October 9, 1970, Brazil and El Mongol defeated Mr. Ito and The Great Ota in the first racially mixed match in Atlanta history.[2][3]

Brazil served as a mentor to wrestler "Soulman" Rocky Johnson. Brazil's manager was James Dudley, the first African American to be in charge of a major arena in the United States. Dudley would run to the ring waving a towel, as Brazil followed behind.[3]

Brazil retired in 1993 after a four-decade career. His last official match was in Chicago, Illinois against Kelly Kiniski, son of rival Gene Kiniski. Brazil was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame class of 1994 by Ernie Ladd.[3][6] The following year, Brazil inducted Ladd into the WWF Hall of Fame.[3]

Personal life and death[edit]

Harris had a wife and six children.[1] After retiring from wrestling, he ran a restaurant called Bobo's Grill.[1]

Harris died on January 20, 1998, at the Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Michigan.[6] He had been admitted to the hospital on January 14, after suffering a series of strokes.[6]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1 Not officially recognized as champion because conflicting interests


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Drason Burzynski, Dave. "Bobo Brazil". Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on January 4, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Bobo Brazil Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Bobo Brazil bio". WWE. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 978-1-55022-741-3.
  5. ^ Google Books Jackie Robinson reference
  6. ^ a b c d e "Bobo Brazil dies at age 74". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "Bobo Brazil". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "History of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship". NWA Wrestling. Archived from the original on December 1, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
  9. ^ "N.W.A. United States Heavyweight Title (Detroit)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  10. ^ "N.W.A. United States Heavyweight Title (San Francisco)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  11. ^ "Florida Tag Team Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  12. ^ "N.W.A. United States Heavyweight Title (Toronto)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  13. ^ "N.W.A./W.C.W. United States Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "N.W.A. Americas Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  16. ^ "N.W.A. "Beat the Champ" International Television Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  17. ^ "International Television Tag Team Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  18. ^ "N.W.A. Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title (San Francisco)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  19. ^ "PWI Awards". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Kappa Publishing Group. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  20. ^ "W.W.A. World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003.
  21. ^ "World Negro Heavyweight Title". Retrieved November 11, 2017.

External links[edit]