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Lionel Rose


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Anthony Mundine led the tributes for Australian boxing great Lionel Rose, who died aged 62 on Sunday.


Mundine described Rose, the first Aboriginal boxer to win a world title when he defeated Japan's Fighting Harada in 1968, as the "best fighter in Australian history".


The two-time WBA super middleweight champion and son of trainer Tony Mundine used Twitter to express his feelings on the news of Rose's death.

"To all my followers it's a sad day as the best fighter in Australian history has passed, Lionel Rose," Mundine wrote.


"RIP mate."


Rose's defeat of Harada in 1968 to claim the world bantamweight crown shot him to stardom in Australia, going on to receive the Australian of the Year gong in the same year as well as an MBE.


World Boxing Council (WBC) official Frank Quill said Rose was a fantastic world champion and one of the first sports identities to make a stand against Apartheid-ravaged South Africa.


"He became world champion at a time when, in two or three states of Australia, Aboriginal people weren't entitled to vote," an emotional Quill, president of the WBC's ratings committee, told AAP on Sunday.


Quill recounted Rose's refusal of a big money fight in South Africa in 1970.


The offer came not long after Rose had lost his world title to the Mexican, Ruben Olivares, and at a time when he was almost certainly in need of money.


"He considered the fight and if he had have taken it he would have had to go there (South Africa) as an honorary "white"," Quill said.


"So he said: `I'm not going'.


"To my knowledge he was the first sportsman to refuse to go to South Africa because of Apartheid."


Rose finished his professional career after 53 fights with 42 wins, 12 of them by knock-out.


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 the Daily Telegraph website.


"He was an absolute legend and I was honoured to know him as a friend."


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" and "Remember Me".


He suffered a stroke in 2007 that had left him partially paralysed and with speech difficulties.

There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.



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Rip and condolences to his family


A great ambassador for Black Australians

Member since Dec 06.

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  • 2 weeks later...

RIP a great sportsman.


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