Last night I went to see the wrestlers. God! I have seldom seen anything so lovely, two athletic types, large shoulders, taut, big necks like bulls, small in the build with firm thighs.

Gaudier-Brzeska was obsessed with conveying movement in his work and sketched at wrestling clubs in 1912-13. He designed a poster for Black & White whisky that posed the black and white boxers Jack Johnson and James Jackson Jeffries, ready to fight. His fellow artists Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957) and William Roberts (1895-1980) were great admirers of boxing, attracted by the virility and violence that they wanted to convey in their art. Gaudier's massive wrestler leans inwards with hands poised as if to wrench the head of his opponent.