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Australian Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies at 62

May 8, 2011 | 12:40 pm


Lionel Rose, 62, the first Australian Aborigine to win a world boxing title, died Sunday near Melbourne after being ill for several months, his family said. He had a stroke in 2007 that left him partially paralyzed.

Rose beat Japan's Masahiko "Fighting" Harada in Tokyo in February 1968 to win the world bantamweight title.

In December of that year at the Inglewood Forum, Rose was declared the victor in a split decision over Mexico's Chucho Castillo, and an unruly mob among the 15,287 spectators rioted and threw bottles and other debris into the ring.

Rose was named Australian of the year after his world title victory, becoming the first Aborigine to receive the honor. He also was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire and finished his career with 42 wins, 12 by knockout, in 53 fights.

-- Associated Press

Photo: Lionel Rose in 1968. Credit: Associated Press