British wrestling history 

has a name


L: LaBarba - Lageat


Wrestling Heritage A-Z


Joachim LaBarba (Pancho Zapatta)
A serious car crash almost put paid to the career, and life of Joachim La Barba.

With the looks that only a mother could love the middleweight made quite an impression with fans that disliked his rough tactics when he tangled with the likes of Jack Dempsey, Cliff Belshaw and Tommy Mann during a three week visit for Dale Martin Promotions in 1958.

Always billed as Mexican we have yet to uncover evidence that he was Mexican, though our scepticism is only because this is professional wrestling and it’s a good guide to question everything. Our search through the archives uncovers the wrestler first of all eight years prior to his Brutish debut working in Paris with the name Joachim LaBarba and Germany as Judas LaBarba.

He returned for a longer visit of around three months in October, 1961, again working for Dale Martin promotions.. On television he lost a November, 1961, contest when he was knocked out by Mick McManus. This was on the same bill that the American Luther Lindsay knocked out Joe Zaranoff in his historic sole British television appearance. There was a further visit in March, 1963.

Joachim La Barba went on to re-emerge in 1965 as the Mexican Thunderbolt Pancho Zapatta, an unmistakable Mexican villain with moustache, a shaven head and a poncho. Oh, and a tendency to get disqualified. A Royal Albert Hall loss against the much lighter George Kidd at the Royal Albert Hall was most likely the highlight of his Zapatta tours in 1965, 1969 and 1972.

Rene LaBelle
The Flying French born Canadian was a claimant of world titles at welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight. His speciality flying tackle was said to be a sight to behold.  A scientific wrestler by all accounts, with a superb physique, he worked in Britain from 1936 until 1938. These matches pre-date any career record we can find for North America, which extends from 1938 until 1953.

Leo Labriola (Mustapha Labriola)
Born in 1901 the globetrotting heavyweight was a veteran of twenty odd years when he worked the rings of Britain from 1951-1952, already well known in Australia, Europe, America and the Far East. Something of a hell raiser in the ring the Melbourne Argus reported from Labriola's match against George Pencheff, "Labriola had been thrown and when he rose he struck the referee George Thompson, a former heavyweight champion boxer, on the back of the neck rendering him unconscious.....Thompson recovered and assailed the Italian whereupon several policeman rushed to the ring and quelled the occasion."

Sus Labrosse
Belgian heavyweight for whom we can find a record of just one UK match, against Norman Walsh in Aberdeen on 8th March, 1955. We have no more to offer, other than he was the father of Eric Brazil who impressed two decades later.

John Lacey
Light Heavyweight from Bath who worked for Dale Martin Promotions from 1960 until 1964, opponents including Johnny Czeslaw, Steve Logan and Arthur Fisher.

Mauric La Chapelle/Pietro La Chapelle
See the entry for Pietro Capello

Jacques (Jacky)  Lageat
The dark haired muscular Frenchman, erstwhile European mid heavyweight champion, will be forever remembered by British fans for the Titanic struggle, in which he lost his championship belt to Briton Billy Howes at Wembley Town Hall in May, 1962. It was a heave-ho struggle, super-human powers displayed by both wrestlers all the way through until the ninth round when Howes body slammed the French man and fell on to him for the winning pin. The same bill included one of the famous grudge matches between Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus, which ended in a draw. Back in France Lageat was a regular tag partner of Francisco Pina Farina  (after Farina's unmasking as L'Ange Blanc) and Charles Verhulst (billed in France as Allan le Foudre).  Lageat was the son of French promoter Roger Lageat. He chose not to capitalise on his father’s credentials and was known in his native France as Jacky Corn, which was his mother's maiden name. He also appeared in a couple of French films.