Bobo Brazil

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Bobo Brazil
Bobo Brazil.jpg
Birth name Houston Harris[1]
Born (1924-07-10)July 10, 1924[1]
Little Rock, Arkansas[1]
Died January 20, 1998(1998-01-20) (aged 73)[1]
St. Joseph, Michigan
Spouse(s) Kathleen Wimbley (his death)
Children 6
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Bobo Brazil[2]
Boo-Boo Brazil[3]
BuBu Brasil[1]
Houston Harris[4]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1]
Billed weight 270 lb (120 kg)[2]
Billed from Benton Harbor, Michigan
Trained by Joe Savoldi[1]
Debut 1951[2]
Retired 1993[4]

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 and worked in 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 Heavywight 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 in 1994 by Ernie Ladd.[3][6][9] The following year, Brazil inducted Ladd into the WWF Hall of Fame.[3]

Personal life[edit]

After retiring from wrestling, he ran a restaurant.[1] Harris had six children.[6] Bobo Brazil was married to Kathleen Wimbley Brazil former Lady Wrestler from Columbus, Ohio. They had one son Randall L. Brazil. Bobo's grandson is Harris Osei Brazil son of Randall L. Brazil. They all reside in Northern New Jersey.


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]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1 Not officially recognised 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 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Bobo Brazil Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Bobo Brazil's WWE Hall of Fame profile". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  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 f "Bobo Brazil dies at age 74". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  7. ^ "Bobo Brazil". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  8. ^ "History of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship". NWA Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  9. ^ pro wrestling illustrated
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2012-04-14. 
  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. United States Heavyweight Title (Detroit)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  16. ^ "N.W.A. Americas Heavyweight Title". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  17. ^ "N.W.A. "Beat the Champ" International Television Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  18. ^ "International Television Tag Team Title (Los Angeles)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  19. ^ "N.W.A. Pacific Coast Heavyweight Title (San Francisco)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  20. ^ "N.W.A. United States Heavyweight Title (San Francisco)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners – Editor's Award". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2011-01-03. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  23. ^ "W.W.A. World Tag Team Title (Indianapolis)". Puroresu Dojo. 2003. 

External links[edit]