Wrestler, world oil wrestling champion (B. 1856, Shumen / Bulgaria - D. July 4th, 1898, Atlantic Ocean). Yusuf, who was one of the legendary names of wrestling, gained the name “Koca (Big)” with his 154 kg body, wrestling skills, strength and morality. He was given the name “Koca” later by the philosopher Rıza Tevfik.
Koca Yusuf started wrestling in his young ages as an apprentice of Nasuhçulu Kel İsmail Pehlivan, was one of the well-known wrestlers of the time. He wrestled with Kel Aliço, who was the Kırkpınar wrestling champion for years. He beat Adalı Halil successively for two times. He participated in several wrestling tournaments in Sultan Abdülaziz, Sultan V. Murat and Sultan II. Abdülhamit periods.
He went to Europe in 1897
and learned the rules of mat wrestling in
Koca Yusuf set off with
La Bourgogne transatlantic having a French flag on May 21st, 1898 to
return back to Turkey. The ship collided with Crmartyshire cargo carrier having
an Irish flag in the morning of July 4th, 60 miles offshore near
Sable Island in the northeast of New York, and sunk. He got drowned together
with all the passengers and crew. His body was lost in the
His name was given to a 40 ton floating crane which is now at the Haliç Dockyard under the control of Turkey Maritime Organization.