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Roy Rose, Lionel's father was also a boxer, who brought a little extra money for the family by touring country shows in boxing tents. Roy was proud of Lionel’s early success, and would carry newspaper clippings his wallet. He was also defensive when people doubted Lionel’s ability, which was the cause of many fights.
Victorian-born Lionel Rose became a professional boxer in 1964 at the age of 16. He retired from his professional career in 1975 with a record of 53 wins and 11 losses.
This is the story of the extraordinary life of Australia's first Aboriginal boxing champion. In 1968 a young aboriginal boxer with a charming smile punched his way to history by defeating the existing world champion, a Japanese boxer called 'Fighting Harada'. Lionel Rose became the new bantamweight champion of the world . When Rose returned to Australia after his victory, he was celebrated by a crowd of 250,000 people. His success came just months after the passing of an Australian referendum, giving the Government new powers to advance Aboriginal rights. In this climate, Rose was more than a black sporting hero - he was also a symbolic figure in the interracial politics of the time. But four years after winning his crown, Rose lost his title to Ruben Olivares, and things began to go downhill. (2008)