Sam Langford is one of the greatest boxers of all time, so why don't we know who he is?

Jacob Sampson hopes his new play, Chasing Champions: The Sam Langford Story, will bring awareness to one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Jacob Sampson's new play, Chasing Champions, premieres at the Eastern Front Theatre's Neptune Scotiabank Stage on April 20 and runs till April 30. (Courtesy of Cultural Affairs Consulting)

Sam Langford is one of the greatest boxers of all time, but few people know who he is. 

ESPN once called Langford the "greatest fighter almost nobody knows," and Nova Scotian playwright Jacob Sampson wants to change that.

"I was blown away that I hadn't heard of this guy," Sampson recalls, of discovering Langford's story while researching athletes to write a play about. The result of Sampson's research is his play, Chasing Champions: The Sam Langford Story, which puts Langford's life front and centre.

It tells the tale of the boxer's childhood growing up in rural Nova Scotia, and the many obstacles he faced in his personal life and career that prevented him from getting the recognition he deserved. From being excluded from competing in championship titles due to a colour ban to having top boxers refuse to fight him for fear that they would lose, Langford's story is one that we all need to know — but Sampson warns that there are more out there.

"There's a lot of stories out there," Sampson guarantees. "Go look because Nova Scotia is rich with a lot of untold stories." 

Chasing Champions: The Sam Langford Story runs until April 30 at the Eastern Front Theatre in Halifax, N.S. For more information, head to the theatre's website

Note: For listeners wondering what book Sampson was talking about in the interview, he was referring to Sam Langford: Boxing's Greatest Uncrowned Champion by Clay Moyle.

— Produced by Cora Nijhawan


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.