Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lionel Rose dies aged 62

Photo Credit: Justin McManus

It is with deep regret that we announce the sad demise of Lionel Rose, the first Aboriginal Australian boxer to win a world title, on May 8, 2011
The Australian Associated Press reported that Rose, who beat Japan's Fighting Harada in Tokyo in 1968 to win the world bantamweight title, had been ill for several months.
He finished his professional career after 53 fights with 42 wins, 12 of them by knock-out.
Rose was named as Australian of the year in 1968 after his world title win, the first Aborigine to receive the honour.
He also was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the same year.
Another fellow boxer, Jeff Fenech, paid tribute to his close friend after being told the news.
"Lionel was not only a great fighter but a wonderful human being," Fenech told News Limited.
"He was an absolute legend and I was honoured to know him as a friend."
News of Rose's death comes on a significant day for Australian boxing, with Daniel Geale earlier becoming only the fourth Australian to win a world title overseas after his defeat of German champion Sebastian Sylvester for the IBF middleweight title.
Geale joins Rose, Jeff Harding and Jimmy Carruthers as the only Australians to achieve the feat.
Rose also enjoyed some success as a recording artist, having two hits with "I Thank You" (yes, we have downloaded this song for your listening pleasure, click HERE) and "Remember Me".
He suffered a stroke in 2007 that had left him partially paralysed and with speech difficulties.
Lionel was honoured with a 3.6 metre, larger-than-life bronze statue at his hometown and birthplace, Warragul, on June 2, 2010, see our report.
I was not fortunate to have met Lionel in person but I was with the bronze fella in Warragul last December with my dad, Hoe.
Rest in Peace Lionel, you will be missed by many.
PS. Noticed the beautiful weather? That was a respite in an otherwise gloomy day. Strange but the rain actually stopped briefly for this shoot.
Click here for Sydney Morning Herald's "Lionel Rose in black and white"

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