Don Fullmer vs Nino Benvenuti II DUAL SIGNED WBC and WBA middleweight World title action shot 8" x 10" black & white photo, 14th December 1968, Ariston Theatre, San Remo, Liguria, Italy.
Benvenuti W unanimous decision over 15 rounds
* Benvenuti was knocked down in the 7th round.
Don Fullmer (born February 21, 1939) brother of former World middleweight champion Gene Fullmer.
Eight years younger than his more famous brother, Don followed Gene into the gym in West Jordan, Utah, to learn how to box. He fought as an amateur for four years and did not lose in sixty-five fights. Another brother, Jay, was also active in boxing.
Don turned professional in 1957 as a middleweight and beat some top contenders during his early career, such as Rocky Fumerelle, Rocky Rivero, and Joe DeNucci. However, he also lost to some good fighters, such as former champions Terry Downes, Dick Tiger, Jose Torres, Joey Archer, and Emile Griffith. In 1964 he beat Jimmy Ellis, who later went on to win the World Boxing Association version of the heavyweight championship. The win against Ellis began a winning streak for Fullmer and he went on to defeat Emile Griffith and Joey Archer in rematches. This streak ended when he lost to Nino Benvenuti in Rome in 1966. Benvenuti went on to win the middlweight title, and after Fullmer beat Carl "Bobo" Olson he fought a rematch with Benvenuti for the title in 1968. He knocked the Italian down but lost a fifteen-round unanimous decision.
While never a recognized World champion, Fullmer did win a bout billed as for the "World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship" when he defeated Joe Hopkins in 1967. This title was the precursor to the current super middleweight championship. Few in the boxing World recognized the legitimacy of that title.
Fullmer retired from the ring in 1973.
After he retired, Fullmer worked for the Salt Lake County Fire Department. He has five sons with his wife Nedra.
Nino Benvenuti was an Italian sports legend before his first pro fight. He won European junior middleweight amateur titles in 1957 and 1959 and captured a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
All of Benvenuti's early fights took place in Italy. Several top American fighters -- such as Isaac Logart, Gaspar Ortega and Denny Moyer -- traveled across the Atlantic to face him. Each one came home a loser. In 1965, Italy was beset by a Civil War when Benvenuti challenged reigning World junior middleweight champion Sandro Mazzinghi. Benvenuti knocked out Mazzinghi in the sixth round to win the crown. He made two title defences before Ki-Soo Kim dethrone him in Seoul, Korea.
In 1967, Nino jumped to middleweight and traveled to New York City where won the title from Emile Griffith at Madison Square Garden. Griffith won a rematch but Benvenuti reclaimed the 160-pound belt in their third meeting in 1968.
Nino made title defences against American contenders Don Fullmer, Fraser Scott and Luis Rodriguez. In 1970, Tom Bethea, a hard-punching New Yorker, knocked Benvenuti out in the eighth round of a non-title fight. Displaying honor often unusual for the fight game, Benvenuti granted him a rematch with the title on the line. This time Benvenuti knocked out Bethea in the eighth round.
Benvenuti lost the title in November of 1970 when Argentina's Carlos Monzon knocked him out in 12 rounds. A rematch took place a year later and Monzon won again, scoring a third-round knockout this time.
Benvenuti retired in 1971.