Lankester and fellow Renton heavyweight Boone Kirkman were friends and two of the biggest names in Northwest boxing in the 1970s.

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Renton middleweight Mike Lankester, who compiled a 22-6 professional record in the 1970s then retired from the ring, has died at age 71.

Lankester’s sister, Shirley Ann Carter of Maple Valley, said “Iron Mike” died in his sleep Feb. 1 while visiting a friend in Ellensburg.

Lankester and fellow Renton heavyweight Boone Kirkman were friends and two of the biggest names in Northwest boxing in the 1970s.

“Boone was with him through thick and thin,” Carter said.

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Lankester learned to box while serving in the Army in Germany after graduating from Renton High School.

He turned pro and was undefeated when he beat former world champion Luis Manuel Rodriguez in his 11th pro fight in 1971 at the Seattle Center Arena.

He didn’t fare as well against another notable opponent. His 1975 fight against Olympic gold-medal winner Sugar Ray Seales at the Center Arena ended with a second-round knockout triumph for Seales of Tacoma. That bout drew a crowd of more than 4,600, according to a Times account.

Lankester was trained by Seattle’s Joe Toro. Lankester won 18 bouts by knockout, including 10 by TKO.

A memorial event for Lankester, a horse-racing enthusiast, is scheduled for Saturday at noon in the Breeders’ Cup Room at Emerald Downs.

He is survived by a daughter, Shawna Lankester of Bothell, two grandsons, and sisters Patty Johnson of Kent and Carter of Maple Valley.