A hobby site created by enthusiasts of 
British wrestling celebrating wrestling and 
wrestlers from 1930 onwards through 
fifty glorious years of British wrestling history



Wrestling Heritage A-Z


Joachim LaBarba (Pancho Zapatta)


A serious car crash almost put paid to the career, and life of Mexican Joachim La Barba.

With the looks that only a mother could love the Mexican middleweight made quite an impression with fans who disliked his rough tactics when he tangled with  the likes of Jack Dempsey, Cliff Belshaw, Tommy Mann and a 1958 Royal Albert Hall clash with Johnny Kwango. 

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.

Joachim La Barba went on to re-emerge in later years as the Mexican villain Pancho Zapatta. This time he returned with his moustache, a shaven head and a poncho. Oh, and a tendency to get disqualified. He was the man known as the Mexican Thunderbolt, who made three undistinguished, and yet entertaining, visits to Britain as Mr Zapatta between 1965 and 1968.

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.

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Leo Labriola (Mustapha Labriola)

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 hellraiser 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 unconcious.....Thompson recovered and assailed the Italian whereupon several policeman rushed to the ring and quelled the occasion."


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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.

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Jacques (Jacky)  Lageat

The dark haired muscular Frenchman, erstwhile European mid heavyweight champion, will be forever remembered by British fans for the titianic 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 fathers 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. 

Alf Lagren (Hans Lagren)

Alf Lagren was a Scottish heavyweight from Methil, a town on the east coast of Scotland.Sometimes adopted the more exotic persona of Swedish champion Hans Lagren, which did have a touch of authenticity due to his Swedish heritage.

Shown above wrestling former heavyweight champion boxer Reggie Meen.Alfred Laggergren shortened his name for pro wrestling purposes and  was   a busy worker around the country from the mid 1930s until 1945.


He met the best of them all, including Charlie Green, Danny Davey and Jack Dale, beating them all on occasions.

In addition to wrestling around Britain Alf wrestled overseas, in France and Switzerland. Shortly after the outbreak of war Alf volunteered for the R.A.F.

He was attached to the Wiltshire Regiment and posted to the Airborne division. On 3rd January, 1945, Alf Lagren was killed in action.

Guy Lamarre

French heavyweight visited Britain between for a month in 1964. He lost to Canadian Don Griffin at the Royal Albert Hall. Returned in 1969 for two high profile matches, losing to Sean Regan at the Royal Albert Hall and getting knocked out by Tibor Szakacs on the tele.

Seen in the photo against Josef Zaranoff.

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Autographs...it was all about the chase.

Our members share the rewards of their hunt.

Bert Lamb

This low key 1950s light  heavyweight from Croydon was often seen in opposition to his friend Kurt Jorgens. Bert was often billed as “Lucky Bert Lamb” on the posters, a reference to his childhood survival of polio, which was a killer in the 1950s. Illness left Bert with a weak and thin leg, which his merciless opponent would repeatedly attack. Fans would scream at the injustice of it all. We just weren't that sophisticated in those days. 

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Felix  Lamban

Spanish heavyweight, and erstwhile European champion visited Britain during the 1950s and 1960s.  Known as the "El Strangulador" as a consequence of a tendency to use a rather lethal headlock. Apart from working throughout Europe he went on to work extensively in the United States, returning to Spain shortly before his retirement in 1967.

Andreas Lambrakis

Greek heavyweight Andreas Lambrakis was born in Athens but spent most of the 1950s and 1960s working in Australia. 

He visited Britain in the spring of 1960, working mainly for Dale Martin Promotions but with the occasional jaunt further north. Opponents were top of the range including Mike Marino, Georges Gordienko, Joe Cornelius, Ray Apollon and Geoff Portz.

He was a rough, tough villain who would swagger around the ring taunting opponents and fans alike.   He continued to travel following his UK visit and went on to work in Canada and the USA for the WWWE. A You Tube video of his match against gorgeous George available at the time of writing.

Although their styles were as similar as chalk and cheese the similarity of family names  with Spiros Arion has caused confusion at times and, which on the death of Andreas Lambrakis, led to rumours that  Spiros Arion   had died. 

Dick Lanagan (Seamus Lanagan)

When it comes to wrestling tradition  the North East of England stands proudly amongst those other centres of professional wrestling south Lancashire, Yorkshire and London.

Newcastle, Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas have produced dozens of famous, and not always so famous, names that have each made their contribution to our wrestling heritage.

One of those names is that of Seamus Lanagan, or more precisely Dick, the birth name by which he was sometimes billed. Seamus was a well known figure in the north east of England in the 1960s and 1970s, working for the independent promoters alongside other Northern favourites Dicky Swales, Sean McNeil, Jim McCormick, Boy Devlin, Les Prest, Laurie Coulton, and Lord Bertie Sinclair. Shown above working for John Allan & Eric Taylor Promotions at York against Middlesbrough's Les Prest.

Another frequent opponent was Digger Rowell, who was largely responsible for preparing Dick Lanagan for the professional ring.  Much of Dick's knowledge of entertaining the crowd was gained in the fairground booths, where he worked alongside Pat Roach, Farmers Boy, Durham Ox Archie Buller and all the men named above. 

Dick had been going along to the Hoppings Town Moor Fair since childhood, but it wasn't until 1966, when he was in his mid twenties, that booth owner, Ron Taylor, took him on as one of his resident wrestlers.  They were long hours, starting at 11.00am and sometimes working as many as  five bouts during the day. He told the story of one occasion at the Hoppings Fair in Newcastle, where the bravado of one challenger swiftly evaporated when Pat Roach stepped forward to accept the challenge.

Whilst working for Ron Taylor Dick met World heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammed Ali. In the photo Ali is standing on the booth alongside wrestlers Dick Lanagan, Lord Bertie Sinclair and Jim McCrombie.

That was in July, 1977, when Ali included a visit to Ron Taylor's boxing and wrestling booth during his four day visit to South Shields. During the visit Ali and his wife had their recent marriage blessed at the Al-Ahzar Mosque.

Away from the booths Dick Lanagan worked regularly around the many smaller halls of the north, billed as Dick or Seamus Lanagan for around twenty years. In the 1980s he cut back on his wrestling appearances but remained involved in the business as a referee.

Dick Lanagan died on 21st January, 2016, aged 77.