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Boxing | International

Cuban who fought Fullmer dies

Former Cuban professional Florentino Fernandez has died at the age of 76.

Fernandez, one of the most exciting middleweights during the 1960s, died in Miami, Florida, after a heart attack.

He fought from 1956 to 1972 and compiled a record of 50 wins, 16 losses, a draw and 43 knockout victories.

Fernandez was born in Santiago de Cuba on March 7 1936 and made his professional debut in Havana on November 24 1956.

In his first fight, he knocked out Pastor Burke in the third round and then won his next 18 fights, all in Cuba.

When Cuba outlawed professional boxing, Fernandez went into exile and fought out of Miami Beach, where he became a popular fighter under promoter Chris Dundee.

He beat leading boxers such as Ralph Dupas, Phil Moyer and Rory Calhoun and challenged Gene Fullmer for his national boxing association middleweight title. They met in Ogden, Utah, on August 5 1961.

Fullmer fractured his elbow and Fernandez lost on a split decision over 15 rounds.

Fernandez also lost to Dick Tiger, Joey Giambra and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who knocked him out in 69 seconds in October 1962.

But he came back to knock out future world light-heavyweight champion Jose Torres in the fifth round. After losing to Willie Tiger in three rounds in February 1967 he retired.

Less than two months later he was back, fighting at light-heavyweight. He was stopped by Luis Guttierez but remained unbeaten in his next eight fights before losing to Vernon McIntosh on July 18 1972. It was his last fight.


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