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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    No Holds Barred: Raul Ramirez on the Global Growth of Catch Wrestling 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with our correspondent Raul Ramirez of Catch Wrestling Los Angeles.

    He has just returned from Wigan, England, where on November 9 he won both his matches at the second annual International Catch Wrestling Tournament, organized by the Snake Pit Wigan. He won his first match by hammerlock over Stephen Greenfield of Wales, and his second by pin over Ulli Koch of Germany. For these efforts, he also was awarded three trophies: the Alan Latham AKA Francis Sullivan Trophy presented by his daughter Karen Latham, the Billy Chambers AKA Jack Fallon Trophy, and the Roy Wood Trophy for Most Improved Wrestler of the Year, presented by Wigan head coach Roy Wood himself.

    In addition, it was announced that Catch Wrestling Los Angeles is now an official Snake Pit Wigan Training Group.

    We spoke with Raul Ramirez by phone Sunday.

    We discussed the opportunity wrestling has with the void being created by all the problems in many combat and contact sports, especially those where evidence of head injuries and brain damage are mounting. In the U.S., there is a slow but steady rebirth of real professional wrestling events, with some using a mix of freestyle and American folkstyle rules, and others international freestyle rules.

    "With the history of catch wrestling, ours is the granddaddy of them all," he said. "If everyone from Wigan and everyone in the United States works together, we can really try to get something going that's global and really exciting."

    He noted that international participation in this Wigan event increased this year, as well as the quality of the wrestling. There are many freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers who are "really interested and really wanting to do catch wrestling." At this event alone, freestyle and Greco wrestler Muhammad Ali of Pakistan, a two-time South Asian Games champion, traveled all the way to England to train and wrestle, winning both of his matches by pin. Other international wrestlers included Osamu Matsunami of Japan and Ulli Koch of Germany, with, of course, Raul Ramirez from the U.S. and numerous wrestlers from the U.K.

    "This can be global again," he said, as we discussed some of the plans to continue this revival of catch wrestling.

    We also discussed plans to hold an international catch wrestling tournament in the Los Angeles area next year, the need for those in catch wrestling to be connected to the broader wrestling community, and much more.

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