Asia-Pacific

Australia: Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose dies

Lionel Rose (file photo)
Image caption Lionel Rose was the first Aborigine to be named "Australian of the year"

Lionel Rose, the first Australian Aboriginal boxer to win a world title, has died at the age of 62.

Rose, who beat Japan's Fighting Harada in Tokyo in 1968 to win the world bantamweight title, had been ill for several months.

In 2007, he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed and with speech problems.

He was named "Australian of the year" after his world title win, the first Aborigine to receive the honour.

He also was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the same year.

He finished his career with 42 wins in 53 fights, 12 of them by a knockout.

Former triple world bantamweight champion Jeff Fenech told Sydney's Daily Telegraph website: "Lionel was not only a great fighter but a wonderful human being.

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