Boxers come from every corner of the globe. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring styles prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best boxer of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Utah may not be known for a rich boxing history, but it cranked out one of the best middleweights of all-time: Gene Fullmer.
A native of West Jordan, Utah, Fullmer captured the world middleweight championship on two separate occasions. He laid claim to the 160-pound title for the first time on Jan. 2, 1957, when he dethroned the incomparable Sugar Ray Robinson at Madison Square Garden in New York. Fullmer lost his rematch with Robinson four months later but scooped up the National Boxing Association middleweight crown when he knocked out Carmen Basilio in “The Ring” magazine “Fight of the Year” in 1959. “Cyclone” retained his championship with subsequent wins over Robinson, Basilio, Spider Webb, Florentino Fernandez and Benny Paret and draws with Robinson and Joey Giardello. Fullmer closed out his career with a three-fight series against the great Dick Tiger between October 1962 and August 1963, going 0-2-1 against the future two-division champion.
Fullmer retired with a 55-6-3 (24 KOs) record and was enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991. He died on April 27, 2015 at the age of 83.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Ernie Lopez, Rex Layne, Don Fullmer
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