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THEN AND NOW: Sam Langford’s story ‘Chasing Champions’ coming to the Marc Lescarbot Theatre as his legacy lives on

Sam Langford of Weymouth Falls fought 642 fights in his career as a professional boxer. PHOTO: Contributed by Nova Scotia Museum and the Sports Hall of Fame of Nova Scotia
Sam Langford of Weymouth Falls fought 642 fights in his career as a professional boxer. PHOTO: Contributed by Nova Scotia Museum and the Sports Hall of Fame of Nova Scotia - Contributed

WEYMOUTH, N.S. – Sam Langford was born in Weymouth Falls in 1882 and died in the United States in 1956, but his memory is still very much alive today.

Langford or, as some called him, the Boston Tar Baby, was a professional boxer who fought 642 fights in his 24-year career. By the time of his last fight he was blind. He had to listen to the sound of his opponent’s feet approaching in order to get a swing in.

Sam Langford in the ring. PHOTO: Contributed by Nova Scotia Museum and the Sports Hall of Fame of Nova Scotia
Sam Langford in the ring. PHOTO: Contributed by Nova Scotia Museum and the Sports Hall of Fame of Nova Scotia

He lost sight in his left eye in 1917 but continued fighting until his final fight in 1926 that had to be cancelled in the first round because he couldn’t see a thing.

The Weymouth Waterfront Development Committee in partnership with the Université Sainte-Anne and the Ship’s Theatre Company are bringing Langford’s story to the Marc Lescarbot Theatre through the play Chasing Champions.

Jeanne Nesbit, the secretary of the Weymouth Waterfront Development Committee, works at Sissiboo Landing in Weymouth, where they have a life-sized cut-out of Langford.

“When relatives come in they say, ‘Oh, that’s cousin Sam, or great uncle Sam.’ They’re very proud of his story and we all are.”

Although some boxers wouldn’t get in the ring with Langford because of his race, or because they knew he would win, he still had a very successful career and continues to be named ‘a great’ long after his death.

“He has a very colourful story to tell and we’re honoured to be able to share his story further through Chasing Champions,” says Nesbit.

Chasing Champions is an award-winning production by Jacob Sampson. The play visits the world of boxing in the 1910-1920s and flashes back to Langford’s early life growing up in Weymouth.

The Weymouth Waterfront Development Committee and the Ship's Company Theatre present Chasing Champions, a play that takes you on the journey of Sam Langford’s boxing career, using flashbacks and a flexible timeline to explore the fighter’s life as a child in Nova Scotia and the experiences that forged one of the greatest fighters who ever lived. Chasing Champions is a physical experience that brings the audience into training and the ring, from the corner to the mat, and pays tribute to a great man who was almost forgotten.

The play has won six Theatre Nova Scotia Merritt Awards, including Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production.

It will be shown at the Marc Lescarbot Theatre at the Université Sainte-Anne Nov. 2 and 3.

The play has previously been performed at the Ship’s Theatre Company in Parrsbaro and at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax.

Sam Langford accolades

• Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1955

• The Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1955

• Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 1955

• Nova Scotia’s top male athlete of the 20th century in 1999

• International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990 • Middleweight Champion of Wales, the Heavyweight Champion in England, Spain and Mexico

• World Colored Heavyweight Champion in 1910

• Boxer of the half-century by the Canadian Press

• Listed as second on Ring magazine’s list of Top 100 punchers of all-time
 

Sam Langford Chasing Champions story.
Sam Langford Chasing Champions story.

IF YOU GO: 

Showtimes:

• Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

• Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Location:

At the Marc-Lescarbot Theatre, Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point

Tickets:

Advance tickets: $15

Tickets at the door: $18 (if available)

Tickets available at Sissiboo Landing, 4575 Highway 1 Weymouth. CONTACT: 902-837-4715 or sissiboolanding@gmail.com

Tickets are also available at the Weymouth and Clare Pharmasave or you can call 902-837-4723


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