Lionel Rose MBE Recovering From Stroke

07.08.07 – By Tony Nobbs: Former world bantamweight champion Lionel Edmund Rose MBE left a Melbourne hospital today and is home in Warrugal, country Victoria, recovering from a stroke he suffered last week.

His cousin and Australia's leading ring official Brad Vocale told eastside “Lionel's best mate Brian Ebbige told me that he is a fighter and is determined to beat it. His wife Jenny and son Michael are with him, he's home now. He's affected on the left side. He's taking light fluids and l foods. He's still got his sense of humor and is having rehab every day.”

“Contrary to popular belief he hasn't been on the drink and smoking lately, he's been looking after himself.”

“Lionel is aware that people are inquiring about him, especially boxing people, and that is giving him a lift."

Lionel turned professional in 1964 defeating Mario Magriss on points over eight rounds. On February 27, 1968, at the age of 19, Lionel became the first Aboriginal in any sport to claim a world title, knocking down and out pointing International Boxing Hall of Famer (IBHOF) Masahiko “Fighting” Harada in Tokyo to be crowned king of the 118 pounders.

Upon his return home over 100, 000 people jammed the streets from Tullamarine Airport to Melbourne Town Hall to greet the new champion.

He was named Australian of the year for 1968.

After defending against 1964 Olympic gold medalist Takao Sakura and Chucho Castillo on the road and Alan Rudkin in Melbourne, (as well as two non title wins) a weight drained Lionel surrendered his title by fifth round knockout to the magnificent Mexican “Rockabye” Ruben Olivares at Inglewood, on August 22 1969.

Lionel later challenged for the WBC junior lightweight title in Japan losing by close decision to Yoshiaki Numata in Tokyo in 1971. He retired in 1976, with a record of 42-11, 12 KO's. He was 27-2 when he beat Harada.

Affectionately known to his mates as “Slim”, Lionel is an inspirational figure in Australian folk lore and receives standing ovations at fight

nights and still a popular guest on the dinner curcuit where along with fellow world champs Johnny Famechon and Barry Michael. He was an inaugral inductee into the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003 and was present at last years Mundine – Green fight. He was born on June 21 1948 and grew up in a shanty at Jacksons Track just outside Drouin in the Gippsland area of country Victoria. A popular movie (“Rose Against The Odds”) was made on his life in the early 1990's, receiving high ratings nation wide on the channel 7 network.

He is this writers favorite all time boxer and he is should be in our prayers.

Article posted on 07.08.2007

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