Anton Geesink, olympic gold medalist in Judo and early All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) star, passed away today in the Netherlands at age 76.
Giant Baba signed Geesink during the initial stages of his All Japan Pro Wrestling promotion, which would go on to wild succes later down the road. As a legitimate olympic gold medalist, Geesink drew large television audiences when his matches would air for the All Japan shows.
Geesink was trained by the legendary Funk brothers, Terry and Dory Jr., and would often team in mega-main events along with Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta and/or The Destroyer, taking on the likes of Bruno Sammartino, “Classie” Freddie Blassie, Killer Kowalski, Gene Kiniski and The Funk Brothers. Basically working alongside the biggest stars in Japan in matches against the biggest stars in the U.S. at the time.