Lionel Rose

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art_rose-420x0Australian boxing great Lionel Rose, the first Aboriginal boxer to win a world title, died May 8th at age 62. 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 honor.  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 honored to know him as a friend.” Rose also enjoyed some success as a recording artist, having two hits with “I Thank You” and “Remember Me”. He suffered a stroke in 2007 that had left him partially paralyzed and with speech difficulties. Last year a bronze statue of Rose was unveiled in a Warragul park, where as a boy he would wait for his father before hitching back to the family humpy at Jackson’s Track. There was no support for Aborigines whatsoever, they weren’t even counted in the census or given a vote, and here he is on the world stage,” said his wife, Jenny, at the unveiling. Last night the Rose family issued a statement: ”Lionel passed at his Warragul home after a long battle with illness and his fighting spirit and determination did not waver during this time. ”This great community leader will be missed.”

 

 

Source: Syndney Morning Herald