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Dick Tiger Batters Gene Fullmer in Heavyweight Rubber Match

Aug. 10, 1963 - Dick Tiger put on a brilliant display before his fellow Nigerians tonight, battered Gene Fullmer into a bleeding, defenseless hulk, and successfully defended his world middleweight title with the British referee stopping the fight at the end of the seventh round, since Fullmer could no longer see. It will go into the record book as a seventh-round TKO. There was little question of the outcome from the first round on, with the 33-year-old Tiger relentlessly blasting the former champion with a two-handed attack that had Fullmer bleeding from a number of cuts and left him glassy-eyed. There were no knockdowns, but Fullmer was sagging defenselessly on the ropes in the fourth and appeared groggy and shaky at the end of the sixth. At the end of the seventh, Fullmer’s manager, Marv Jenson, asked British promoter Jack Solomons to stop the fight, and referee Dick Hart raised the champion’s hand to the roar of a crowd of about 30,000, many of them in resplendent native dress. It was the first title fight in Nigeria. Gene’s face was a gory mess from cuts above and below both eyes and a deep gash on the right brow. The victorious Tiger, who stretched his unbeaten string to 10 straight bouts, said: “This fight was tougher than our first one at San Francisco, but not as tough as our second at Las Vegas. At Vegas, I couldn’t catch him. Tonight I did.” The only previous time Fullmer had been knocked out was in the fifth round of his grueling second title fight with Sugar Ray Robinson at Chicago on May 1, 1957. Tonight, Fullmer’s wife expressed the hope that her husband would give up his ring career. “I hope Gene will quit now,” said Mrs. Fullmer. “I’m disappointed that he lost, but I’m more concerned about him getting hurt.” She had listened on the radio to the worst whipping of her husband’s career.

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