LAWRENCE "LARRY" GAINS
Inducted in 2015
Lawrence Gains’ family were descendants of fugitive slaves in Toronto’s eastside. Unfortunately, black athletes were not often allowed to compete for national boxing titles so he entered and won the British Empire competitions and the Coloured Boxing championships. Lawrence was able to compete with, and often beat, many of the heavyweight contenders in his day, but would never be allowed to compete for the Heavyweight Boxing titles.
Lawrence turned down an opportunity to join the Canadian Olympic Team in 1924 when he made the decision to leave for England in 1923 and become a professional boxer. When he returned to North America, he became the Canadian heavyweight champion and fought in the eastern United States. He was known for his honesty and integrity and will be forever remembered for the other big fight in his life, the battle to break down the race barrier and leading the way for future black athlete contenders.