Professional Wrestler and Boxer Danny Hodge has passed away at age 88.
Hodge attended Perry High School in Oklahoma were he won the 165-pound title at the state tournament in 1951. As a collegiate wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, he was undefeated at 46–0, with 36 pins, and was never taken off his feet during his collegiate career.
Hodge joined the United States Navy in 1951. He survived the United States Olympic Trials, and was coached by Naval Academy Instructor Ray Swartz in the 174-pound division. After two appearances in the 1952 Olympics, Hodge placed 5th.
He was trained by by Leroy McGuirk and Ed “Strangler” Lewis. He made his professional wrestling debut in October 1959. Hodge’s first feud was against NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Angelo Savoldi.
During his eighteen year professional wrestling career, Hodge held the NWA United States Tag Team Championships five-times with several partners. He was also a holder of the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship eight times over ten years.
Hodge won the 1958 Chicago Golden Gloves at Heavyweight. He finished his amateur boxing career with 17 wins, no losses and 12 KO’s.
In his professional boxing debut, Hodge scored a first-round knockout victory over Norm Jackson. He ended his professional wrestling boxing career with a reported record of 8–2, although only 7 wins have been documented. He retired on July 9, 1959.
On March 29, 2005, Hodge was honored by Oklahoma state lawmakers as an Oklahoma Sports Hero. He served as chairman of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission.
In 2007, Hodge was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He made appearances in on WWE Monday Night Raw in 2005 and 2012 in which he honored Oklahoma Native Jim Ross.
On behalf the of the entire staff at Wrestleview, we send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Danny Hodge during this difficult time.