Utah Athletes

Gene Fullmer “The Mormon Mauler”

Gene Fullmer defeated Carmen Basilio by knockout in the 14th round of a 1959 contest at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California.


Now THAT was a moniker which struck fear into an opponent, and it referred to West Jordan native Lawrence “Gene” Fullmer who was world middleweight champion (160 pounds) during the 1950s and 60s.

Fullmer is a high point of a long boxing tradition in SLC which included Pete Suazo from the West Side of the city. Before his death in 2001, the respected state senator also served as a boxing referee. 

Fullmer was born in 1931 and started his adult life working at Kennecott Copper. He discovered boxing and won the middleweight belt with a 1957 upset win over the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson. He lost in a rematch later that year, but regained the title in 1959, and held it until 1963 before surrendering it to Dick Tiger. Fullmer’s record was 55 and 6 with 24 KOs. Known as a strong bull of a fighter, he fought many bouts here in Utah. Fullmer died in 2015, and the Gene Fullmer Recreation Center in West Jordan is named in his honor.

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