to change his identity. In Britain he now wore a mask and became mystery villain, The Avenger. The school believed that “Sean Regan” had retired from wrestling – that is - until The Avenger was unexpectedly unmasked after a vile incident.
Unhappy at his villain tactics a furious woman stubbed a cigarette on his leg during a fight. Murphy struck out with his foot in defense, brokeher nose and dislocated her jaw. His true identity came out in court, and the Wrestling Schoolmaster was forced to resign his post.
Murphy took off for Canada where he won the Pacific Coast Championship belt from Gene Kiniski in April 1973, enabling him to wrestle Harley Race for the World Championship. With a legion of Canadian fans, it was a sellout fight and Murphy finally walked away with the world title he had dreamed of since childhood.
The picture of the Russian Lion Georg Hackenschmidt was still in Murphy’s wallet. With the World Championship now in his grip he could cross one goal off his list. The Doctor of Philosophy would have to wait.
From there it was off to Japan to fight in Tokyo, where Murphy was beaten by a supremely fit Antonio Anoki. With three broken ribs it was time to retire from the sport. Gerry closed his bank account and flew home to his family , who had wound yellow ribbons around the old oak tree out the front to welcome him home.
Their beautiful daughter Sharon was born later that same year.
Murphy’s first academic job was teaching the rough ‘sink’ class at Crawley. He identified with the hardships of the immigrant kids. He introduced work experience programs, brought in cars for the kids to pull apart and fix and set up weightlifting and wrestling as outlets for their anger. The change was enormous and Dr Gerry Murphy found himself Head of Remedial Education at St Wilfrid’s in Crawley, teaching by day, studying for a language degree and wrestling on the sly.
All hell broke loose the day Murphy – aka Sean Regan – appeared on TV against Dangerous Danny Lynch. His cover was busted, the press was swarming and the Sunday papers loved it. Schoolmaster Leads Double Life! Sean Regan had become a household name but the school was bitterly unimpressed.
In 1967 the wrestling schoolmaster won the Irish Title against Pat Ivor Barrett. In summer the following year he was invited to go to Vienna to wrestle for the Heavyweight Championship of Europe and took the ring against Eugen Weisberger. Weisberger’s decision to gouge Regan in the eye, almost blinding him, was the biggest mistake of his life. Weisberger was stretchered off with a dislocated jaw, snapped tendons and ligaments of the knee and rather swollen testicles. The European belt was Regan’s.
Murphy, as Sean Regan, was now in great demand. He wrestled in major venues across England during the week and flew around Europe on weekends to defend his title. Throughout he kept up his teaching and used the travel time to study for a Bachelor of Education. Much adored baby daughter Alexandra came along and summers were spent fighting back in South Africa under the moniker Wild Bill Murphy.
Between 1970 and 1977, Gerry Murphy served as Deputy Headmaster at Holy Cross Middle School in Crawley where it soon became apparent the school wouldn’t tolerate his nocturnal activities. Murphy’s response was
Gerry Murphy, school master
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