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Don Fullmer, ex-middleweight boxer, dies at 72

Former middleweight champion Dick Tiger, left, shakes up

Former middleweight champion Dick Tiger, left, shakes up Don Fullmer with a hard left to the chin in a boxing bout in Cleveland. (Sept. 12, 1964) Photo Credit: AP

WEST JORDAN, Utah - Don Fullmer, a former middleweight boxer who fought nine world champions and came within a fight of a world title himself, has died in Utah at the age of 72.

His sons told the Deseret News that he died Saturday in West Jordan after suffering from lymphocytic leukemia for 15 years.

Fullmer was the brother of former world middleweight champion Gene Fullmer. He fought in 79 matches, losing to such former champions as Dick Tiger, Jose Torres, Joey Archer and Emile Griffith during a career that spanned from 1957 to 1973.

He defeated Griffith and Archer in rematches before losing to Nino Benvenuti in 1966.

In a 1968 rematch with Benvenuti for the middleweight title, Fullmer knocked the Italian down but lost a 15-round unanimous decision.

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