Ivan Maximovich Poddubny (Russian: Ива́н Максимович Подду́бный, Ukrainian: Іва́н Максимович Підду́бний; 9 October [O.S. 26 September] 1871 – 8 August 1949) was a professional wrestler from the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union. He began his sports career around 1900; his career lasted for about forty years and he has never lost a fair fight.
|Birth name||Ivan Maximovich Piddubny|
|Born||9 October 1871|
Krasenivka, Zolotonosha Uyezd, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire
(now Zolotonosha Raion, Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine)
|Died||8 August 1949 (aged 77)|
Yeysk, Yeysk region, Krasnodar Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Spouse(s)||Antonina Kvitko-Khomenko (1909–20)|
Mariya Mashoshyna (1923–49)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||The Champion of Champions, Ivan The Terrible, The Russian Hercules|
|Billed height||185 cm (6 ft 1 in)|
|Billed weight||120 kg (265 lb)|
|Trained by||Eugène de Paris|
Piddubniy was born on John the Apostle day in 1871 into a family of Zaporozhian Cossacks in the village of Krasenivka, in the Zolotonosha county (uyezd) of the Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Zolotonosha Raion of Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine). Having a big family Piddubny senior had a difficult time to provide for them, therefore Ivan was forced to leave his father's house before turning 20. As a young man, Piddubny worked as a fitter in the ports of Sevastopol and Feodosiya for seven years earning a nickname of Ivan the Great. In Feodosiya, Ivan started to practice with kettlebells and participated in some wrestling fights. Sometime around 1897-1898, he started traveling with circus tours and performed at first in Sevastopol and later in Kiev arenas.
Sometime in 1903, Piddubny joined the Saint Petersburg Athletic Club with which he participated in World Championships in Moscow and Paris. In 1905 he became the World Champion in wrestling in Paris and later toured Italy, Algeria, Belgium, Berlin, winning a championship in Nice. In 1906, Piddubny won two more World Cups in Paris and Milan. Before returning to his home in Krasenivka in 1910, he also won several more world cups in Vienna, Paris, and Frankfurt.
According to the Krasenivka museum, he did not waste his money earned during fights and upon his return home bought 200 ha (490 acres) of land, two houses in a neighboring Bohodukhivka village, a small store, a churn shop, two mills one of which was located in Orzhytsia (today a town in Poltava Oblast). Around that time, he got married for the first time. Sometime in 1913, Piddubny participated in another World Cup in Moscow where he became a runner-up. It was then that his wife left him for another taking his gold medals.
While touring in Rostov, Ivan meets his future second wife whom he marries in 1923. In 1920s he was touring the United States staying undefeated while visiting New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco. During his tour in the United States he was forced to fight freestyle as his opponents. At age 56 Ivan won a beauty contest among men in the United States. Being unable to take out his earned half a million dollars from the bank (required to be a citizen), he left for home. Later Ivan continued to perform in the Russian circuses retiring finally at age of 70. His last farewell performance he did in the Tula city circus in 1941. After his retirement, he with his wife settled in Kuban buying a two-storey house with a garden in Yeysk.
Piddubny maintained a lifelong professional rivalry with wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko. He died undefeated on 8 August 1949, in the town of Yeysk, in the Kuban region in Southern Russia from a heart attack. Ivan was buried in Yeysk in a park outside of the city. At his burial site was installed an obelisk that used to say "Here lies the Russian bogatyr".
According to the director of the Krasenivka museum, Ivan had three sisters (Motrona, Maryna, and Yevdokiya) and three brothers (Omelyan, Mykyta, and Mytrofan). The fate of Omelyan and Mykyta is unknown, while Mytrofan continued to live in Krasenivka where he died in 1966. The last relative of Ivan Piddubny who lived in Krasenivka was his granddaughter Hanna Zakharivna who died sometime before 2011. It is also known that both Motrona and Maryna had three children each, yet the most close relations Ivan kept with his youngest sister Yevdokiya and was as godfather of her daughter Mariya. Eventually, Yevdokiya moved to the neighboring village of Bohodukhivka and later to Zolotonosha.
Ivan's father name was Maksym Ivanovych Piddubny. According to the Krasenivka museum, Ivan Piddubny's height was 180 cm (71 in), his weight was 118 kg (260 lb), his biceps girth was 44 cm (17 in), and his neck was 60 cm (24 in) thick.
Championships, accomplishments and awardsEdit
There is a monument dedicated to Ivan Piddubny in his home village of Krasenivka. There is also the Ivan Piddubny Fund headed by Petro Dusheiko (former governor of Chornobai Raion). The Fund sponsors the annual festival of bogatyr strength which is conducted since 1998. The festival which gathers up to 10,000 people was visited once by a grandson and great grandson of Ivan Piddubny who arrived from Kazakhstan.
- Nikitenko, T. Bogatyr from Krasenivka. Ukrayina Moloda. 7 October 2011
- Karnaruk, L. At 55 Piddubny was as health as the 25 year old. Gazeta in Ukrainian. 8 October 2015
- Абсолютная сила Ивана. vokrugsveta.ru
- ИВАН ПОДДУБНЫЙ (Ivan Piddubny). history.vn.ua
- "Иван Поддубный в Екатеринославе позировал и дрался". Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Nikolai Sukhomlin (16 March 2009) Богатырь Иван ПОДДУБНЫЙ: из грузчиков в чемпионы. h.ua
- Иван Поддубный (Ivan Poddubny). ote4estvo.ru. 6 July 2011
- Сильный мира сего: почему от Ивана Поддубного сбежала жена, и зачем борец работал вышибалой в баре. Argumenty i Fakty
- "Иван Максимович Поддубный -наш великий земляк (Ivan Maksimovich Piddubny – Our Great Countryman)". Tourism Website "My Eisk". Retrieved 9 September 2014.
- "3 россиянина, награждённые орденом Почётного легиона за необычные заслуги (3 Russians Awarded Légion d'honneur for Unusual Merits)". Russian Daily "Sobesednik". 16 August 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ivan Poddubny.|
- Иван Максимович Поддубный / Ivan Poddubny: Гамбургский счет Ивана Поддубного at peoples.ru (in Russian)
- Ivan Poddubny's biography (in Russian)
- Ivan Piddubny's biography
- Ivan Piddubny: the Ukrainian Hercules, a powerful athlete and staunch patriot in The Ukrainian Weekly