From Lethbridge, Alberta and later a long-time resident of Hamilton, Ontario. One of the top Canadian wrestlers of the 1930s and 1940s. Made his Toronto debut in 1929 for promoter Ivan Mickailoff and had a 20-year career as a wrestler before becoming a promoter.
Had a series of outstanding matches in Canada and New Zealand against Canadian Earl McCready. Defeated McCready for the British Empire title in New Zealand in 1940, and lost it back to him later that year. Was also frequent challenger to Whipper Billy Watson for the Toronto version of the British Empire Title. Defeated Watson for the title in 1942, lost it to McCready, and regained the title from McCready later in the year.
Participated in the first team match in Toronto history, partnering with Al "Bunny" Dunlop to take on Watson and McCready in 1942. Defeated Yvon Robert for the Montreal version of the world title in 1943, but quickly lost the title back to Robert.
Had Maple Leaf Gardens main events against The Angel (Maurice Tillet) in 1943 and former world heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera in 1947.
Became the promoter for Hamilton, Ontario in 1947 and was involved in the development of many wrestling stars from that area. Katan's final wrestling match at Maple Leaf Gardens was against McCready in 1948. He retired as an active wrestler in 1949 and continued to promote through most of the 1950s.
Katan died at age 67 in 1968.
"John Katan, ex-Canadian coal miner, is back again and making his presence felt by all his rivals hereabouts. Katan likes the rough type of mat warfare."
(From THE RING, December 1938)
"Ex-British Empire Champion John Katan is now promoting at a new site in the thriving city of Hamilton. Matches are now being held at the modern New Hamilton Forum and it is said to be a big improvement over the old Municipal Pool, as well as much larger. John informs me that he is drawing turn-away crowds each week."
(From WRESTLING AS YOU LIKE IT, Feb. 13, 1954)
- British Empire champion (New Zealand), 1940
- 2-time British Empire champion (Toronto), 1942
- World/International champion (Montreal), 1943