|Real name||Lionel Edmund Rose|
|Weight(s)||Bantamweight and later Lightweight|
|Height||5 ft 5+1⁄2 in (166 cm)|
|Born||21 June 1948|
Labertouche, Victoria, Australia
|Died||8 May 2011 (aged 62)|
Warragul, Victoria, Australia
|Wins by KO||12|
Lionel Edmund Rose MBE (21 June 1948 – 8 May 2011) was an Australian bantamweight boxer, the first Indigenous Australian to win a world title. He later became the first Indigenous Australian to be named Australian of the Year.
Rose was the 2003 inductee for the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame "moderns" category and was the second person to be elevated to "legend" status in 2010.
Born and raised at Jacksons Track in Victoria as well as the town of Warragul, Rose grew up in hardship and learned to box from his father, Roy, who was a skilled fighter at local house shows. Rose was of the Gunditjmara (Dhauwurd Wurrung) people.
Later, at the age of 10, Rose was given a pair of boxing gloves by his teacher, Ian Hawkins (who observed him shadow boxing). Aged about 15, he went under the tutelage of Frank Oakes, a Warragul trainer (whose daughter Jenny he later married). He won the Australian amateur flyweight title at 15. He was the godfather to model and actress Ruby Rose.
Professional boxing career
After missing selection for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Rose began his professional boxing career at age 16, on 9 September 1964, outpointing Mario Magriss over eight rounds. This fight was in Warragul, but the majority of Rose's fights were held in Melbourne. Along the way he was helped by Jack and Shirley Rennie, in whose Melbourne home he stayed, training every day in their backyard gym.
After five wins in a row, on 23 July 1965, Rose was rematched with Singtong Por Tor, whom he had beaten in a 12-round decision. Por Tor inflicted Rose's first defeat, beating him on points in six rounds. On 14 October of the same year, he had his first fight abroad, beating Laurie Ny by a decision in 10 rounds at Christchurch, New Zealand.
Over his next nine fights, Rose had a record of eight wins and one loss, with one knockout. The lone loss in those nine fights was to Ray Perez, against whom Rose split a pair of bouts. Then at age 18, on 28 October 1966, he met Noel Kunde at Melbourne for the Australian bantamweight title. He won the title by defeating Kunde in a 15-round decision.
Rose won one more bout in 1966 and eight in 1967 (including a thirteenth-round knockout win against Rocky Gattellari to defend his Australian championship) before challenging Fighting Harada for the world bantamweight title on 26 February 1968 in Tokyo. Rose made history by becoming the first Aboriginal Australian to be a world champion boxer when he defeated Harada in a 15-round decision. This win made Rose an instant national hero in Australia and an icon among Aboriginal Australians. A public reception at Melbourne Town Hall was witnessed by a crowd of more than 10,000. On 2 July of that year, he returned to Tokyo to retain his title with a 15-round decision win over Takao Sakurai. Then, on 6 December, he met Chucho Castillo at the Inglewood Forum in Inglewood, California. Rose beat Castillo by decision, but the points verdict in favour of him infuriated many in the pro-Castillo crowd and a riot began: 14 fans and fight referee Dick Young were hospitalised for injuries received.
On 8 March 1969, Rose retained the title with a 15-round decision over Alan Rudkin, but five months later he returned to Inglewood, where he faced Rubén Olivares on 22 August. Rose lost the world bantamweight title to Olivares via a fifth-round knockout.
Rose continued boxing after his defeat against Olivares, but, after defeats against practically unknown fighters, many believed he was done as a prime fighter. However, he was far from finished: he upset future world lightweight champion Itshimatsu Suzuki on 10 October 1970 in a 10-round decision, and once again, he positioned himself as a world title challenger, albeit in the lightweight division, 17 pounds over the division where he crowned himself world champion.
Despite having lost to Jeff White for the Australian lightweight title, Rose got another world title try when he faced WBC world junior lightweight champion Yoshiaki Numata, on 30 May 1971 at Hiroshima. Numata beat Rose by a fifteen-round decision, and Rose announced his retirement soon after.
In 1975, he came back, but after losing four of his next six bouts, including one against Rafael Limón, Rose decided to retire for good. Rose compiled a record of 42 wins and 11 losses as a professional boxer, with 12 wins by knockout.
During his time off from boxing in the 1970s, Rose embarked on a modest singing career in Australia having hits with "I Thank You" and "Please Remember Me" in 1970. Produced and written by Johnny Young and engineered by John L Sayers, the song "I Thank You" was a top 5 nationwide hit. Comedic sports commentators Roy Slaven and H.G. Nelson played it as a substitute to the Australian national anthem during radio broadcasts of the State of Origin series and other sporting events.
It is widely thought that Rose's singing career didn't give him time to get enough preparation training in, which is why he lost bouts against so many unknown fighters (after his loss to Ruben Olivares).
Rose sang "Jackson Track" and "I Thank You", in both the SBS documentary and accompanying CD, Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music.
|I Thank You||
|1969||"I Thank You" / "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down"||2||I Thank You|
|1970||"Please Remember Me" / "Good Old Country Song"||40|
|1970||"Little Ole You" / "Guitar Pickin' Boy"||-|
In retirement, Rose became a successful businessman, and he enjoyed the monetary benefits his career brought him. Rose was showcased in 2002 in The Ring section 'Where are they now?'.
Rose was featured in Australian author: Wendy Lewis's book of "Australia's Greatest People" in 2010.
In the 1960s, he won the Australian Amateur Flyweight title
In 2003 he was an inaugural inductee in the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame.
In 2005 he was featured on a stamp (part of the 2005 edition).
In 2005 Rose was also awarded the E9 title of 'King of the Ring'.
In 2011 he was inducted to the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll.
TV and film
His life inspired the TV serial The Battlers (1968) about an Aboriginal boxer, played by Vincent Gill in blackface.
In 2008, after nearly three years of conducting interviews with Rose, his family and friends, Melbourne filmmaker Eddie Martin premiered his feature-length documentary Lionel at the Melbourne International Film Festival. After a brief theatrical run, a shorter version of the film premiered on SBS television on 28 November 2008.
Professional boxing record
|53 fights||42 wins||11 losses|
|53||Loss||42–11||Maurice Apeang||KO||2 (10)||Dec 18, 1976||Une Grande Soiree Stadium, Noumea, New Caledonia|
|52||Loss||42–10||Rafael Limon||TKO||3 (10)||Aug 28, 1976||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|51||Win||42–9||Giuseppe Agate||TKO||3 (10)||Nov 13, 1975||Olympic Swimming Stadium, Melbourne, Australia|
|50||Loss||41–9||Billy Moeller||PTS||10||Oct 8, 1975||Marrickville RSL Club, Sydney, Australia|
|49||Loss||41–8||Blakeney Kid Matthews||MD||10||Aug 29, 1975||Melbourne Olympic Pool, Melbourne, Australia|
|48||Win||41–7||Bomber Uchida||PTS||10||Jun 30, 1975||Merdeka Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|47||Loss||40–7||Yoshiaki Numata||UD||15||May 30, 1971||Prefectural Gymnasium, Hiroshima, Japan||For WBC super featherweight title|
|46||Win||40–6||Tanny Cuaresma||KO||1 (10)||May 4, 1971||Channel 10 Studios, Melbourne, Australia|
|45||Loss||39–6||Jeff White||UD||15||Feb 12, 1971||Milton Tennis Courts, Brisbane, Australia|
|44||Win||39–5||Guts Ishimatsu||UD||10||Oct 10, 1970||Palais Theatre,Saint Kilda, Melbourne, Australia|
|43||Win||38–5||Richard Kid Borias||KO||3 (10)||Aug 4, 1970||San Remo Ballroom, Melbourne, Australia|
|42||Win||37–5||Freddie Wicks||PTS||10||Jul 14, 1970||Eastern Suburbs Rugby League Club, Sydney, Australia|
|41||Loss||36–5||Raul Cruz||UD||10||May 16, 1970||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|40||Win||36–4||Don Johnson||UD||10||Mar 7, 1970||White City Tennis Courts, Sydney, Australia|
|39||Loss||35–4||Fernando Sotelo||KO||7 (12)||Dec 7, 1969||White City Tennis Courts, Sydney, Australia|
|38||Win||35–3||Vincente Garcia||KO||5 (10)||Nov 1, 1969||Melbourne Olympic Velodrome, Melbourne, Australia|
|37||Loss||34–3||Rubén Olivares||KO||5 (15)||Aug 22, 1969||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Lost WBA, WBC, and The Ring bantamweight titles|
|36||Win||34–2||Ernie Cruz||MD||10||Jun 10, 1969||Honolulu International Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.|
|35||Win||33–2||Alan Rudkin||SD||15||Mar 8, 1969||Kooyong Tennis Stadium, Melbourne, Australia||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring bantamweight titles|
|34||Win||32–2||Chucho Castillo||SD||15||Dec 6, 1968||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring bantamweight titles|
|33||Win||31–2||José Medel||MD||10||Aug 28, 1968||Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|32||Win||30–2||Takao Sakurai||MD||15||Jun 2, 1968||Nippon Budokan, Japan||Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring bantamweight titles|
|31||Win||29–2||Tommaso Galli||PTS||10||Apr 26, 1968||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|30||Win||28–2||Fighting Harada||UD||15||Feb 27, 1968||Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan||Won WBA, WBC and The Ring bantamweight titles|
|29||Win||27–2||Rocky Gattellari||KO||13 (15)||Dec 11, 1967||Sydney Stadium, Sydney, Australia|
|28||Win||26–2||Gary Garber||PTS||10||Nov 20, 1967||Sydney Stadium, Sydney|
|27||Win||25–2||Kamara Diop||TKO||3 (10)||Oct 13, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|26||Win||24–2||Ronnie Jones||PTS||10||Sep 1, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|25||Win||23–2||Tiny Palacio||PTS||10||Jul 28, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|24||Win||22–2||Rudy Corona||PTS||10||Jun 9, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|23||Win||21–2||Akihide Tamaoka||KO||6 (10)||May 11, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|22||Win||20–2||Nevio Carbi||PTS||10||Mar 17, 1967||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|21||Win||19–2||Felipe Gonzalez||PTS||10||Nov 18, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|20||Win||18–2||Noel Kunde||PTS||15||Oct 28, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|19||Win||17–2||Jackie Burke||TKO||6 (12)||Oct 14, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|18||Win||16–2||Noel Kunde||PTS||12||Aug 26, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|17||Win||15–2||Ray Perez||PTS||12||Jul 8, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|16||Win||14–2||Flash Dumdum||PTS||12||Jun 17, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|15||Win||13–2||Jerry Stokes||PTS||12||May 13, 1966||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|14||Loss||12–2||Ray Perez||UD||10||Apr 4, 1966||Sydney Stadium, Sydney, Australia|
|13||Win||12–1||Ray Perez||UD||12||Feb 18, 1966||Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney, Australia|
|12||Win||11–1||Arthur Clarke||UD||8||Dec 2, 1965||Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney, Australia|
|11||Win||10–1||Billy Brown||UD||12||Nov 5, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|10||Win||9–1||Laurie Ny||UD||10||Oct 14, 1965||Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|9||Win||8–1||Billy Brown||TKO||10 (12)||Oct 1, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|8||Win||7–1||Bobby Wells||TKO||8 (12)||Aug 20, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|7||Win||6–1||Teddy Rainbow||PTS||12||Jul 27, 1965||Saint George Rugby League Club, Sydney, Australia|
|6||Loss||5–1||Singtong Por Tor||PTS||6||Jul 23, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|5||Win||5–0||Singtong Por Tor||PTS||12||Jun 25, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|4||Win||4–0||Jackie Bruce||TKO||1 (12)||Apr 2, 1965||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|3||Win||3–0||Joe Oliveri||TKO||2 (6)||Nov 6, 1964||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|2||Win||2–0||Mario Magris||PTS||8||Oct 9, 1964||Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
|1||Win||1–0||Mario Magris||PTS||8||Sep 9, 1964||Warragul, Australia|
- List of bantamweight boxing champions
- List of WBA world champions
- List of WBC world champions
- List of The Ring world champions
- List of undisputed boxing champions
- Lionel Rose and Jenny Rose interviewed by Rob Willis for the Sport oral history project, Trove (National Library of Australia), 2008.
- Milbert, Neil Francis. "Lionel Rose". britannica.com. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Lionel Rose's Boxing Gown, 1968". Museums Victoria Collections.
- Flanagan, Martin (9 May 2011). "Rose's champion style went way beyond the boxing ring". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Broome, Richard (1995). "Enduring Moments of Aboriginal Dominance: Aboriginal Performers, Boxers and Runners". Labour History (69): 171–187. doi:10.2307/27516397 – via JSTOR.
- "New Dawn" (PDF). March 1971. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2011.
- "Lionel Rose - Lineal Bantamweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
- National Film and Sound Archive: Lionel Rose World Title on australianscreen online. Aso.gov.au. Retrieved on 24 July 2015.
- "Wonderful day for the champ". The Canberra Times. Canberra, Australia. 1 March 1968. p. 18. Retrieved 2 July 2021 – via Trove.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 258. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Elder, John (15 June 2008). "Fight to the end". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
- Nobbs, Tony (7 August 2007). "Lionel Rose MBE Recovering From Stroke". eastsideboxing.com. Archived from the original on 24 August 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
- "Lionel Rose dies aged 62". ABC News. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- Australian boxing great Lionel Rose dies aged 62, Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2011.
- Chronology Archived 13 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Australia Day. Retrieved on 24 July 2015.
- "ROSE, Lionel Edward". honours.pmc.gov.au. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- Services, corporateName=Office of the COO | Corporate Communication | Web. "Key to the City". www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
- "2011 Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll". www.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- Lionel (2008). IMDb
- Rod Humphries (1969). Lionel Rose Australian : the life story of a champion. ISBN 0-207-95146-2.
- Andrew Rule (1991). Rose against the odds: the Lionel Rose story. ISBN 0-646-03390-5.
- Stoddart, Brian & Vamplew, Wray (1994). Sport in Australia: A Social History. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43513-7.
- Kieza, Grantlee (1990). Australian Boxing: An Illustrated History. Paddington, NSW: Gary Allen Pty. Ltd. ISBN 1-875169-10-5.
- Media related to Lionel Rose at Wikimedia Commons
- Lionel Rose's Musical Legacy at Your Daily Spa.
- Recording of Lionel Rose winning the World Title in 1968 on australianscreen online. Commentary by Ron Casey.
- IMDB: Rose against the odds – TV movie
- Bill Long presents Lionel Rose in his first featherweight bout against Vicente Garcia featherweight champion of Mexico (1969)
- Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies, aged 62. Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies, aged 62 World Socialist Web Site (2011)
- Boxing record for Lionel Rose from BoxRec (registration required)
- Lionel Rose - CBZ Profile