Will Çağatay Ulusoy play Koca Yusuf?
Due to allegations in the Turkish press that Çağatay Ulusoy’s new film dedicated to the life of the famous Turkish wrestler Koca Yusuf is still on the agenda, many of our readers wonder who Yusuf Ismail is and why he gets so much attention.
The biography of the famous fighter and wrestler is so rich that on its basis you can make several big Hollywood hits at once. He is considered one of the greatest fighters in the history of world sports. It was he who turned wrestling into one of the most beloved entertainments of the American viewer.
Yusuf was born in Bulgaria, in a family of Bulgarian Turks. It is curious that Çağatay Ulusoy’s paternal grandfather was a Bulgarian Turk. The young Yusuf began his career as a fighter in Europe, and his debut was more than impressive. He won his first fight in Paris with the French champion in 4 seconds.
Soon, Yusuf got the nickname “The Terrible” not only for his strength but also for his incredible temper. Even the most respected champions were so afraid of this man that simply refused to fight with him, fearing for their lives. Once he fought with his fellow countryman, who insulted him before the fight, entering into such a rage that the opponent had broken arms of both hands, broken ribs, and a disfigured jaw. With the help of the police and several courageous spectators, they managed to drag the battles apart. And Yusuf himself said that if he had not won this fight, he would have cut his throat.
Soon the fateful meeting of the Terrible Yusuf and William A. Brady, one of the legendary sports promoters, took place. Realizing that he had a real diamond in his hands, Mr. Brady took his ward to the USA, where Yusuf began a triumphant ascent from one sports victory to another before the fight with the World Greco-Roman Heavyweight Champion Ernest Roeber. The fight turned out to be unequal, Yusuf entered into a rage and literally threw the opponent out of the ring, breaking his bones. Roeber was unconscious for several minutes and the crowd decided that he was dead. Dissatisfied spectators rushed into the ring, deciding to lynch the “shameless Turk”, but they were stopped by the police. The judge awarded the victory to Roeber, finding Yusuf’s dodge unacceptable. And Roeber himself refused to fight further, citing a back injury. The crowd shouted: “kill the Turk!” And in the end, the award ceremony was canceled.
The match revenge between the two champions, that took place a few months later, ended in a fiasco. Enraged men staged a fight in the ring, in which their managers intervened. However, instead of reassuring their wards, they began to sort out personal relationships and also fought. Soon inspired viewers joined the fighting managers and wrestlers. The match had to be canceled before it escalated into riots.
The American audience was sharply opposed to “this Turk”, but Yusuf was confident enough to hold the main and last match in his career, defeating champion Evan “Strangler” Lewis for the American Heavyweight Championship title. Having received 5 thousand dollars (huge money at the time), he turned them into gold and according to legend made a belt with gold coins that he wore on himself.
The American public respects success and victory. After the fateful battle, Yusuf turned from an outcast into a hero. In addition, he has always attracted women because, despite his impressive weight (144 kilograms), he was not fat, but muscular, and was what is called the “sex symbol”.
He could continue his successful career but preferred to return to the family and children who were waiting for him in Turkey. Alas, the dream of a peaceful family life drowned with the ocean liner La Bourgogne, whose passenger he became. According to the legends, the wrestler helped other passengers to escape, but when he tried to get into the boat himself, his fingers were cut off by the other passengers, fearing that the too heavy wrestler would sink it.
After the death of Yusuf, his manager, and personal friend, William Brady, did a lot to perpetuate his memory. William himself became the most successful sports manager of the United States, gaining his place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also one of the most famous Broadway producers. Then he became one of the founders of contemporary American cinema, becoming the first Hollywood producer. For a long time, William was the president of The National Association of the Motion Picture Industry.