Sammy Luftspring at age 14, 1930. Ontario Jewish Archives, photo #2516.
Sammy Luftspring began boxing at the ‘Y’ as a teenager. His first fight was held in the late 1920s, in the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah gymnasium. As an amateur boxer, Luftspring was selected to represent Canada at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. However, he and other Jewish athletes boycotted the games in protest of the German government’s persecution of its Jewish citizens.
Sammy turned professional later that year at the age of 20 and became an overnight success, always boxing with a Magen David on his shorts. In 1938, he won the Canadian Welterweight title and held onto it for two years.
In 1940, Luftspring was injured during a match at Madison Square Gardens in New York, and lost his sight in one eye. His injury forced him into retirement, but he continued to be involved in the world of boxing as a referee. In 1985, he was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.