Cincinnati’s World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Celebrated in the West End.
The legacy of Ezzard Charles, the World Heavyweight Champion who grew up and trained in Cincinnati, is now permanently memorialized in the West End neighborhood where he once worked and lived. The Cincinnati Parks Foundation joined forces with Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses, the West End Community Council, Cincinnati Parks, and many generous donors to revitalize Laurel Park in honor of the legend. This park was renamed Ezzard Charles Park in August of 2022, and now contains a bronze cast statue of the boxer, jazz enthusiast, multilingual entrepreneur, and goodwill ambassador, which was unveiled at the community’s 5th annual Ezz Fest.
The festival began with the first-ever Cincinnati Cobra Race, a nearly 5-mile training route for the boxer, mimicking the course from when he trained to fight boxer Rocky Marciano. The route crosses the city from the West End to Eden Park, and back. A true celebration of Charles and his community, the event included a dedication of the new statue and the collaborative effort that brought the vision of West End resident and Cincinnati Parks Foundation Board Member, Andrew VanSickle, to life. The sculpture was masterfully completed by local artist, John Hebenstreit, and the beautiful accessible plaza was designed by the late Jaipal Singh of CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design.