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'Old-school fighter' dead at 79

June 17, 2006 at 3:31 PM

NEW YORK, June 17 (UPI) -- George Washington, "an old-school fighter" who trained Riddick Bowe and Mark Breland, has died at the age of 79 in New York.

Washington suffered from congestive heart failure, his family told The New York Times.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Washington was on the U.S. Marines boxing team during military service in World War II and also served as Joe Louis' sparring partner in 1945. He was 1946 Pacific Theater champion.

For years after leaving the military, he worked at Fedders Corp. and the Welbilt Stove Co. while training boxers in his free time. Nate Boyd told the Times that Washington took him on when he showed up at a gym at the age of 12.

For more than 20 years, Washington's base has been the New Bed-Stuy Boxing Center in Brooklyn.

"He was an old-school fighter," said Bruce Silverglade, owner of Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn. "Old-school fighters learn how to fight with the basics. That's how he trained his kids; that's something that's lost on trainers today."

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