Dan Kolov (full name Doncho Kolev Trevnenski) is a Bulgarian wrestler and sketchiest, a legend in martial arts. During his active period as a wrestler (1918-1936. ), Dan Kolov has documented 181 official meetings, of which 75 wins, 62 losses and 33 draws
Dan Kolov (full name Doncho Kolev Trevnenski) is a Bulgarian wrestler and sketchiest, a legend in martial arts. During his active period as a wrestler (1918-1936. ), Dan Kolov has documented 181 official meetings, of which 75 wins, 62 losses and 33 draws (Image Courtesy-Facebook)

Dan Kolov (full name Doncho Kolev Trevnenski) is a Bulgarian wrestler and sketchiest, a legend in martial arts. During his active period as a wrestler (1918-1936. ), Dan Kolov has documented 181 official meetings, of which 75 wins, 62 losses and 33 draws.

Doncho Kolev Trevnenski was born on December 26, 1892. In the village of Sennik (then Chadarlii), Sevlievo municipality. Doncho has a brother. He was only seven years old when his father died of tuberculosis, which required him to become a volovar (ox shepherd) for a living. He left the country in 1905. and off he goes to Hungary. Works as a gardener in Budapest. 


In 1909 meets Bulgarian wrestler Nikola Petrov, who advised him to leave for the United States of America. To survive, he deals with all kinds of work – a mover, a railway construction worker, and a miner.

After 1914, at the suggestion of Doncho’s manager Devi Harrison Hemetend, he changes his name to Dan Kolov to not sound foreign to the public and associate himself with “kolos”.

In 1933, at the big wrestling tournament in Paris, Dan Kolov was named by a Parisian newspaper, “King Kong”, after the popular movie. After his victory over Henri Deglan, Dan Kolov was called “King Kong” by the Parisian newspaper “Entrancije” in its March 7 issue.

He first began his career as a wrestler in the fights among workers. Next is a victory at the 1914 Victoria Circus. When the circus director invites people from the audience to come measure strength in the arena with star Jeff Lawrence Cyclops. Doncho accepted the challenge and managed to defeat the 106-pound wrestler.

Dan Kolov arranges professional wrestling with his manager Devi Harrison Hemetend. He defeats many of the famous wrestlers of the time – Jeff Lawrence, Zbishko Tsiganevic, Jack Shirey, aka “The Lightning Man”, Rudy Dussek, Joe Stacker, Strangler Lewis, Jim Browning and more. He became a professional wrestler at the age of 26 (1917). ). The sketchiest is 178 cm tall and weighs 105 kg.

1924 is invited to a tournament in Japan, where his victory over Jiki Higgan – “The Smother”, the idol of Japanese wrestling, undefeated as a professional, remains memorable. After this brawl, the crowd tries to kill him, as before he meets with Jiki.

1933 invited by Raul Paoli, director of Pala de Sport, to the big wrestling tournament in Paris. Dan Kolov defeated all his opponents, one after another, Stefan Savic (Stef Savage), Yusuf Mehmedov, and Rigulo. Still, in the final, he was ill and lost to French champion Henri Deglan – “The Man with a Thousand Grips”. They call him “King Kong”, “The King of Wrestling”, and “The Balkan Lion”. Correspondents of the large Sofia newspapers Dawn and Morning write about the unknown to the Bulgarian people Dan Kolov.


Next is an invitation to Brussels, Belgium, to fight the Portuguese freestyle champion Miguel d’Olivera. Dan Kolov beats the 122kg Portuguese. He returns to Paris, from where he left for Australia, where Ole Ryan defeated and stripped him of the title of Australian champion. New Zealand defeats the British champion, George Walker. He took part in matches in Africa.

April 1935, he returned to Bulgaria and stayed until autumn; during this period, he participated in clashes against Reginal Siki (Abyssinia) in Sofia, over Dragicheanu (Romania) in Plovdiv, over Santen (France) in Pleven and over some great Bulgarian wrestlers such as Todor Bankov (in Stara Zagora) and others.

He leaves again for Paris after an invitation by Raul Paoli for a rematch with Henri Degla, who, in addition to being a European freestyle champion, is already the owner of the t. sun. “Diamond belt of wrestling”. 

The condition defeats all opponents (including Kumrin, Boronovic and Kvariani). Dan Kolov handles it and, in the final, defeats Henri Degla, which earned him the title of “European Champion” and the “Diamond Wrestling Belt”. 


The victory is reflected in the Parisian newspapers “Pari Soar”, “L’Oto”, “Pti Parisian”, “Eco de Sport”, and “Entransigne”. In the French press, Dan Kolov challenges to match the new wrestling world champion Shikat. After that, he returned to Bulgaria.

Dan Kolov practised in his career wrestling and wrestling, which differ in his rules and character. He fights professional and amateur battles.

Even though in the biography “Dan Kolov – The King of Wrestling – Life and Struggles. 

From Chadarley to the Diamond Belt, D. Assenov writes that Dan Kolov fought over 1500 battles; the book’s author must be a witness and cite a source for such a general statement. There needs to be a credible source to back up such figures. 

In the same book, D Assenov points out that in Bulgaria, Dan Kolov was welcomed “as a god”, and in his homeland, they had not heard of the wrestler until he won the “Diamond Wrestling Belt”.


Dan Kolov is Bulgaria’s first European champion in freestyle wrestling. He won European gold in 1936. at the championship in Paris. This is the second distinction for Bulgaria after Nikola Petrov’s 1900 world title (classic style)

The most important championships and tournaments won:

The tournament in Japan – 1924

Diamond belt heavyweight holder in professionals

Three-time European professional heavyweight champion – April 6, 1934. (Paris), September 19, 1937 (Sofia),[19] 1936/1937 (Greece).


Dan Kolov has registered at least 72 losses in official matches.


Dan Kolov has registered at least 33 official matches ending without a winner.

Return to Bulgaria

April 1935, 30 years from now abroad, Dan Kolov returns home and is greeted as a hero. Throughout his career, he negotiated to change his citizenship to American, he was also offered Australian, but until his death, he remained a proud Bulgarian. 

His words are: “I feel strong because I am Bulgarian.” Refuses a proposal for foreign nationality by the phrase: “Dan Kolov is Bulgarian”. When they offer to take him with a phayton to his village, Dan Kolov answers: “I went out on foot; I’ll be back on foot! “.

In 1936 in Sofia, Dan Kolov created a wrestling school bearing his name.

The Communist power after September 9, 1944. has been awarding him posthumously with the title of “Master of Sports” since 1962. in his memory, the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation organizes the Dan Kolov – Nikola Petrov International Wrestling Tournament.

Every year in Sevlievo, a freestyle wrestling tournament is held in memory of Dan Kolov.


Dan Kolov is also remembered as one of the greatest benefactors of his time. Distributes his entire state to friends, flatmates, students (incl. abroad) and the state. Donates 500 000 lv. to King Boris III for purchasing the first plane of the Bulgarian post. 

1925, together with his friend Harry Stoev, supports the construction of the military airport in Gorna Oryahovitsa.