NEWTON, Iowa – The incredible athletic career of Dan Hodge, the only man to ever win national titles in both boxing and wrestling, has been published by Culture House Books and is now available.
It is called Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story.
Hodge came out of Perry, Oklahoma, to set the amateur wrestling world on fire in the mid 1950s. He won three NCAA Championships at 177 pounds for the University of Oklahoma, never losing a match or even a takedown. He also won three national titles in freestyle wrestling and one in Greco-Roman.
He also competed on two Olympic teams. He made the 1952 team as an unheralded 19-year-old, at that time the youngest wrestler ever to make an Olympic team. In 1956, he won the silver medal in the 174-pound class in Melbourne, Australia.
On April 1, 1957, Hodge was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, the only amateur wrestler ever accorded such an honor.
After completing his amateur wrestling career with his third NCAA title in 1957, Hodge turned to boxing. He was 17-0 as an amateur boxer and on March 24, 1958, won the National Golden Gloves heavyweight title with a dramatic knockout victory in Madison Square Garden!
Hodge boxed briefly as a professional, posting a record of 8-2 and at one time was being considered for a world title shot against champion Floyd Patterson. In the book, he discloses for the first time the behind-the-scenes problems he had with the business, and why he left boxing even though he had a promising future.
After his horrible experience in pro boxing, Hodge became a professional wrestler and is regarded as the greatest junior heavyweight champion of all time. He is also considered one of the greatest "shooters" (a wrestler willing to wrestle for real at any time) in the history of the sport.
The book concludes with a ranking of where Dan Hodge fits on the list of the greatest shooters of all time, dating back to the start of the early 1900s.
Author Mike Chapman has known Dan and his wife, Dolores, for over 30 years and has spent considerable time with Dan talking about his incredible career. A recognized author and historian, Chapman is the founder of the Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, and the founder of W.I.N. magazine, one of the top wrestling publications in the country. He has been named National Wrestling Writer of the Year six times, by five different organizations. This is his 21st book, and 15th on wrestling.
The book includes 66 photographs, many never seen before. The photos cover Hodge's careers in both wrestling and boxing, as both an amateur and professional.
"Dan Hodge has lived a truly amazing life," said Chapman. "He has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in sports history – from Jack Dempsey to Rocky Marciano, from Ed "Strangler" Lewis to Lou Thesz. There are photos of all of them with Dan in the book, plus many stories about them."
The foreword was written by Jim "J.R." Ross, one of the best-known announcers and commentators in pro wrestling history.
Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story is published by culture House Books of Newton, Iowa, a small publishing company that specializes in books about sports legends and movie personalities. It sells for $22.95, with $5 shipping and handling costs.
Persons can order the book by calling Culture House Books at 641-791-3072.