L: Lasar- Leddington

Wrestling Heritage A - Z

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Jack Lasar (Also known as Rene Lasartesse)

Stamping Jack Lasar, the arrogant strutting villain of the 1960s had something of an identity crisis. In Britain Stamping Jack billed as the American villain who would taunt his opponent, mercilessly punishing him to antagonise the crowds. In America he would equally enrage fans but was known as Ludwig Van Krupp. To the Germans he was Frenchman Rene Lasartesse, whilst to the French fans he was a German. He was actually Edouard Probst, born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1928. His career spanned thirty  five years, beginning in 1953 and concluding in 1988 as he neared his sixtieth birthday. International success came in 1958 when he worked in the United States.

Jack Laski

Canadian heavyweight Jack Laski made a six month visit to Britain during the winter of 1956-7 and returned once again the following year. Between times he wrestled in Austria and Germany. Opponents included Jack Pye, Mike Marino, Count Bartelli, Francis St Clair, Ray Apollon on television and Royal Albert Hall bouts against Ray Hunter and  Black Butcher Johnson.

Pierre LaTour
A name associated with promoter Jack Taylor in the 1960s. We have been told two wrestlers used this name, Peter Jordan and Peter Measures, who gained popularity as Pete LaPaque.

Scarface Laval

The French villain who appeared fleetingly in Britain at the start of the seventies.   Originally he came to the ring dressed Mafia-style as Al Capone,  but later assumed a full-length villain's gown. Previously having wrestled as  Philippe Navarro the change of name confirmed his identity as a ring villain. Could it really be coincidence he chose  the name Laval, the French prime minister who collaborated with the Nazis and was shot by a firing squad. In April, 1971 he headed for Britain and made his debut in the Royal Albert Hall Trophy Tournament, A victory over Judo Al Hayes was followed by a semi final loss to Steve Viedor. Only one other UK match seems to have materialised, the following night at Cambridge with Mike Marino.

Kitione Lave 

Born in 1934, Kitione Lave, the Tongan Terror or Tongan Torpedo, was certainly one of the finest boxers to enter the wrestling ranks. Lave outstrips even the important George Nuttall, the original Black Mask, in having defeated British favourite Nosher Powell.  Nuttall had been unable to overcome Powell in their Royal Albert Hall encounter.  Kitione Lave was only outpointed by the great Brian London and had actually put away British Champion Don Cockell in the second round of their encounter (below)  - and Cockell had gone 9 rounds with the undefeated Rocky Marciano.

The famous fifties Queen of Tonga followed Lave’s career closely and also employed him at her palace.

Famous wrestling venue St James’s Hall Newcastle was the 1960 scene of a controversial boxing match where the referee stopped the fight deeming that both Lave and his Ghanaian opponent were “not giving of their best”.

At 72 in the Heritage countdown of the finest wrestling posters, see Kitione Lave billed against Dwight J Ingleburgh in 1965,  just a year after he had retired from boxing as the undefeated Pacific Heavyweight Champion.  (Though he had already been wrestling in Singapore a couple of years before that alongside Prince Kumali for promoter and noted super heavyweight, Emil “King Kong” Czaja.)

Due to Lave’s passion for casinos, during his decade in Britain, Lave didn’t wrestle far from his main business interest in Sheffield, and could easily slip under the radar of less than attentive British wrestling historians.  Kitione served in the RAF, ran a gym at the base, a nightclub in Sheffield and even played a few games for Doncaster’s rugby league team. He returned to New Zealand in 1972 with his English wife, Patricia, who he had married in 1957.

Kitione Lave passed away in 2006.

Shaun Lavery (Also known as Shaun Falcon)

Yorkshire based Shaunn Lavery was from Northern Irish stock. He could be seen on the independent circuit of the 1970s, working mostly for Cyril Knowles. Shaun was later signed up for Joint Promotions using the name Shaun Falcon.

Ian Law 

Tayside's Ian  Law was a late 1970's challenger for Johnny Saint's World  lightweight crown and the man credited for training Drew McDonald. In the mid 1980s Ian was laying claim to the world welterweight championship and took part in blood baths with Rollerball Rocco.

Clem Lawrence 

The image often created of British wrestling in the 1930s is that of a lawless, anything goes brutal business full of blood, sweat and disreputable men. Our Years of Wrestling series provides a more accurate and balanced portrayal of wrestling in the decade prior to World War 2. The business certainly had its faults but there were many skilled respected wrestlers who avoided the more barbaric aspects of the game. One of them was Chelmsford's Clem Lawrence. Born Peter Wade he was the brother of Essex and England cricketer Tom Wade.

Clem  was a bit on the light side at 14 stones to get in the ring with some of the bigger heavyweights, but his technical ability made him more than a match for most, including  Bulldog Bill Garnon, Anaconda and Jack Pye. 

Clem's muscular physique gave him the name “The Adonis of the Ring.” As the newly introduced All-In rules began to gain popularity Clem turned professional in 1932 and for the rest of the decade was one of the busiest of wrestlers, working most nights of the week mainly in the south but travelling north on occasions. 

The Daily Worker of the 7th February, 1936, reported “The surprise result of the evening's bouts was the defeat of Sam Rabin by Clem Lawrence, of Chelmsford, with two submission falls.”

Defeat of the great Sam Rabin? This boy was good. He was very good in fact. But there were worse days at the office, as reported by the Daily Express, “Top liner was between Legs Langevin and Clem Lawrence..... After Lawrence had scored the first fall, Langevin brought those legs into play with a body scissors that made Lawrence helpless. In round 3 Legs quickly settled to work and had those legs around Lawrence again, who submitted.”

In 1939 when the fledgling BBC were broadcasting exhibitions of wrestling Clem Lawrence was called upon to exhibit the sport alongside Dave Armstrong. The outbreak of war brought a halt to tv wrestling, tv and Clem's career. He was conscripted into the army where he rose to the rank of major and fought in the El Alamein campaign. 

Clem returned to the ring following the war, now travelling northwards far more frequently. Clem Lawrence took part in the 1947 World Heavyweight Championship Tournament at Harringay Stadium, promoted by Atholl Oakeley, going out in the first round when he lost by the odd fall against Carl Reginsky. 

Clem failed in his British heavyweight championship challenges against Bert Assirati in September, 1947, and again in November, 1949, but losses to the Islington Hercules should not lessen his reputation. Clem reduced his wrestling commitments in 1953 and finally retired in 1957.

Dave Lawrence

A diminutive bundle of energy that was Nottingham’s Dave Lawrence who bounced around the ring in the 1980s.. In his 1982 Royal Albert Hall appearance Dave’s opponent was Grasshopper, which isn’t surprising as Grasshopper seemed to be his opponent most nights of the week. It was Grasshopper again in one of his three televised matches, the other opponents being Peter Kaye and Saxon Brooks. Time was running out for wrestling and Dave didn’t really make his mark. For an understanding of Dave’s impact on sport do a bit of research on his judo career, a member of the British international judo squad and reaching a very high level. 

Granville Lawrence
Muscular and moustachioed Granville Lawrence was a popular and well respected wrestler of the 1940s and 1950s. Granville was unrelated to Clem Lawrence. Barnsley's Granville Lawrence was "A fantastic wrestler." Don't take our word for it, but that of Sam Betts, better known to wrestling fans as Dwight J. Ingleburgh. 

Coming from Barnsley it's hardly surprising that Granville was a graduate of Charlie Glover and his Junction gymnasium. Granville was born in 1921 and was a good friend of Harry Broadfield, who wrestled as Harry Fields. However, it wasn't to wrestle that Granville went along to the Junction, but as a boxer. Boxing, physical culture and wrestling were Granville’s loves from his teenage years.

As so often happened at the Junction Granville, who had gone along primarily  for the boxing  joined the wrestlers for a tussle and the rest became history. 

Granville took to the wrestling and was soon held in high esteem by his Junction compatriots as a technically accomplished wrestler. He had his first professional match in 1943 according to newspaper reports but the earliest documented match we found was in November, 1945, knocked out by Carlton Smith at Nottingham  after putting up a “grand and colourful display.”

During the next twenty years wrestled the best in the business, Carlton Smith Jack Dempsey, Mick McManus, and beat them. Charlie Glover was impressed, and gave Granville the task of teaching his lad, “Our Brian" how to wrestle. 

"Our Brian," of course was to learn something from Granville as he was to become northern favourite Leon Arras.

Granville worked for both independent and Joint Promotions, finally disappearing from our rings whilst working for the independents around 1960.

Tony Lawrence

The clever Dundee welterweight Tony Lawrence made his way from Scotland to London and seemed to be everywhere on the British wrestling scene. In November 1952, with Joint Promotions establishing their nationally recognised champions, Tony defeated Alan Colbeck at Newcastle to gain recognition as British welterweight championship. A rivalry with John Foley saw  resulted in three successful defences for the Scot against the Lancastrian until Wigan's Jack Dempsey claimed the crown. Tony continued battling against the best, a nationwide worker for Joint Promotions, until 1963.

Whiskers Larry Laycock

Following the second world war Larry "Whiskers" Laycock left the Royal Marines to take up chicken farming in Doncaster and professional wrestling. He was a regular on the bills of the midlands, northern England and Scotland until the mid 1950s and wrestled the big names of the day such as Dave Armstrong, Ken Davies and Jack Pye..

Gustav Le Brun

Gustav Le Brun was the ring name of Arthur Heaton of Blackpool. He was a Science teacher in Manchester and was “persuaded” into professional wrestling by Eddie Rose for two reasons: firstly he was a very fit rugby player and secondly he looked like a cross between Omar Sharif and Alan Miquet, the very popular Huddersfield welterweight. Gustav Le Brun was the name of a well-liked teacher at Arthur’s own school in Blackpool.

After a lengthy apprenticeship at the Black Panther gym in Manchester where he was coached by Grant Foderingham, Arthur made his debut versus Eddie Rose on a local charity show in 1969 with an impressive six round draw. He went on with an unbeaten sequence for his first dozen bouts against Pete Lindberg, Roy Fortuna, Mark Wayne and other local wrestlers. He impressed audiences with his fast, clean-cut, scientific style.

His first loss came versus Bruce Welch at Rothesay in Scotland. Promoters then paired him with Mark Wayne in tag matches billed as the best looking tag team in the North and was matched against the Red Devils, the Masked Baron & his Henchman, the Flying Scots, the Spidermen and other long-forgotten combinations.

His best bouts were with Rose, as mentioned, “Mad Dog” Wilson and a notable tussle with Jack Dempsey that he lost to Dempsey’s special move, the single leg Boston Crab in the final round of a special challenge match at the Houldsworth Hall in Manchester.

Fate took a hand and Gustav suffered several bad injuries, initiated by Dempsey and the damage to his knee from the submissions in his bout with the Wigan wrestler. He never regained full fitness and his form suffered leading to a premature retirement from wrestling in 1973; a sad end to a very promising start.

Last heard of, he had returned to Blackpool where he worked in a private car hire business.

George Leddington

George Leddington was part of a very active wrestling scene around Birmingham and the Black Country in the 1960s. A youngster in Bilston, a couple of miles southeast of Wolverhampton, George was always interested in sport and was a keen amateur footballer. His interest in wrestling led to George turning professional in 1962, his earliest matches being for Oakdale Promotions and Highland Entertainments. 

Twice winner of Oakdale's "Wrestler of the Month" established promoters signed him up and soon he was wrestling for Cyril Knowles, Jerry Jeary, Lew Philips and other independent promoters. Philips promoted weekly at Digbeth Civic Hall, one of George's favourite halls in Birmingham city centre. Another enjoyable venue for George was Dudley Hippodrome, which also put on weekly shows in the early 1960s, and was the home to one of his most memorable matches, against Birmingham's Deep River. 

Considering how much he worked the name George Leddington was less known that might have been expected, this was a result of his identity often being hidden as he was billed as  "The Red Devil," who unusually for the name was not a masked wrestler.   At the time of taking his place in Wrestling Heritage George still lives in the West Midlands and enjoys supporting his favourite football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers.