Two Utah cities name street after boxing champ Gene Fullmer and his family

South Jordan and West Jordan are renaming a five-block stretch of 9400 South after champion boxer Gene Fuller and his pugilist brothers.

"The Fullmers were a big part of West Jordan and we are happy to join South Jordan in renaming 9400 South to honor their family name,” West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding said in a prepared statement.

9400 South serves as a border between the two cities, where many of the family members lived and trained. The renamed Fullmer Lane section will be between 1700 West (Redwood Road) and 2200 West.

Known as the “Mormon Mauler,” Gene Fullmer won the middleweight boxing crown in 1957 by beating the legendary Sugar Ray Robinson in 15 rounds in an upset at Madison Square Garden. He retained the title only four months, until Robinson defeated him in a rematch — the first time Fullmer had been knocked out in more than 40 fights.

The Utahn reclaimed the title two years later.

He ended his boxing career in 1964 with a record of 55-6-3. Those included a draw against Robinson in a third meeting and a Fullmer victory by controversial decision in 1961 in their fourth and final fight. He was named “Fighter of the Year” in 1961 by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Fullmer died in 2015 at age 83.

“Gentlemen Gene’s” brothers, Jay and Don, were also known for their boxing careers. Don, who fought nine world champions in his career, was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and Jay won a Utah Hall of Fame Distinguished Service award in 2012.

Part of the family legacy lives on at the Fullmer Brothers Boxing Gym, where youths are admitted free of charge. More than 2,000 youngsters — many of them “at-risk” — have used the gym to learn the sport of boxing and receive mentorship.

(Tribune file photo) Boxing legend Gene Fullmer, and his brothers Jay Fullmer, center, and Don Fullmer at their boxing gym in West Jordan in 2003.

“It was Dad’s and those guys’ dying wish that we don’t charge anybody to ever come into that gym, so they wanted us to keep it running and don’t charge them,” said Brad Fullmer, Don’s son.

The Fullmer gym preaches five ideals: discipline, nutrition, fitness, integrity and service.

“These youth learn something that can help them not only just as fighters, but it can also help them become better citizens,” said Don Rees, a member of South Jordan’s Historic Preservation Committee, which recommended the street name change.

”It’s an honor to be a part of South Jordan with people like this,” Rees said.

Fullmer family members have recently acquired land on which they intend to build a new gym, one that can accommodate tournaments. Through the Fullmer Legacy Foundation, the family will soon begin fundraising to get the funds to build the new gym.

The new gym, which organizers hope to erect within two years, will have a study hall and a computer lab where students can do homework.