Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Geale Win is a Fitting Tribute To The Spirit of Rose

By Mark Staniforth

It was one of those tragic quirks of fate this week that on the same day Daniel Geale became only the fourth Australian-born fighter to win a world title on foreign soil, one of those legends he emulated passed away.

Lionel Rose did as much as anyone to blaze a trail for Aboriginals in elite sport, becoming an instant national hero when he went to Tokyo to wrest the WBC bantamweight title from Fighting Harada in 1968.

That achievement should never be underestimated: Rose edged a majority decision over a fighter who went into their contest on a 19-fight unbeaten streak, and who was destined for a place in the Hall of Fame.

So it was fitting that Geale should have to overcome equally tough odds to claim the IBF middleweight crown, pulling off what is often called the impossible in winning a points verdict over a German fighter in Germany.

Australian boxing men spoke eloquently of Rose's loss. Legendary trainer Johnny Lewis said: "It seems incredible that on the same day Lionel Rose leaves us Daniel Geale becomes world champion.

"Daniel is very proud of his indigenous background and the way was opened for Daniel by Lionel Rose and Tony Mundine.

"Lionel Rose showed indigenous Australians that they could achieve anything if they worked hard, but he was an inspiration to all Australians."

Rose was proud of his place in the pantheon of Australian boxing greats. Until Geale, his achievement in winning a world title abroad was equalled only by Australian-born compatriots Jimmy Carruthers and Jeff Harding.

It was too tough an ask even for the great Jeff Fenech, who was held to a draw by Azumah Nelson in Las Vegas in 1992, and the popular Tony Mundine, beaten by middleweight legend Carlos Monzon in Argentina in 1974.

Like Rose and Geale, Carruthers and Harding did it the tough way. Carruthers won his world bantamweight title in Thailand in 1954. Harding went to Atlantic City to stop the rock-solid Dennis Andries for the WBC light-heavyweight title in 1989.

Recent Australian boxing success has been rather more tenuous. Anthony Mundine failed to venture outside his home nation during his reign as WBA super-middleweight champion and recognition for his feat was restricted accordingly.

Kostya Tszyu and Vic Darchinyan, both long-term residents Down Under, won numerous titles overseas, but were born elsewhere. Gairy St Clair, who beat Cassius Baloyi for the WBC super-feather crown in South Africa, was born in Guyana.

Geale was born and brought up in Launceston, Tasmania. He won a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester but admits he dreamed of defending a world title in his home town long before that.

"I think I said when I was about 16 I'd love to have my first title defence in Tasmania," said Geale, whose sudden rise to prominence puts him in the frame for a clash with widely regarded number one Sergio Martinez.

"I've got to speak to my management and work out the best option. I've always said I would be prepared to go anywhere, so if we have to go over to the United States that's the next big step for us.

"Depending on negotiations, my second defence will hopefully be in the US. I'd love to get over there and cement my name. Defend the title here in Australia then go over there and say, 'here I am, who's next?"'

It's a sure thing that Rose, who battled his way out of a dirt-poor upbringing and showed no fear when offered the daunting chance to head to Tokyo and face Harada, would approve of Geale's attitude.

Even with his title and his extraordinary popularity in Australia, Rose continued to travel, determined to make the most of his title reign. He even returned to Tokyo to make a successful first defence against Takao Sakurai.

After a split decision win over Mexican Chucho Castillo at the Inglewood Forum in California in 1968, a fight in which Rose recovered from a 10th round knockout, a riot broke out over the scoring.

After beating tough Briton Alan Rudkin back in Melbourne, Rose set off on his travels once again, and lost his title via a fifth round knockout to another all-time great, Ruben Olivares, back in California in 1969.

Before retiring, Rose would fight back in Tokyo, in Malaysia and even in New Caledonia, where he lost his last fight by second round stoppage in 1976 before entering a long and sometimes difficult retirement.

The fearless Rose achieved what few Australian boxers had done before, and few have had the talent or the heart to try to emulate since. Geale is one of those few, so it was entirely fitting that his triumph should be played out in Rose's honour.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by UglyPug on 05-11-2011

geale has a white man's fro! *HaHa Nelson Muntz* - can somebody make an emoticon that has a picture of nelson going "haha"

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (1)
Top Headlines Chocolatito: No Problem Facing Cuadras, But Focus is on Rungvisai Hearn: No Interest in Khan's Proposed 70-30 Split for Brook Bout Yuriorkis Gamboa Inks Promotional With Golden Boy Promotions Nicola Adams Turns Pro With Frank Warren, Will Debut On April 8 Top Rank President Lays Out Michael Conlan's Plan To Stardom Cancer-Free Father Made Camp Less Stressful for Leo Santa Cruz Lara's Coach: Canelo Does Not Have The Style To Beat Golovkin Angel Garcia: Danny Could Ruin Thurman's Career, Like Matthysse's Daily Bread Mailbag: Mayweather-Ali, Cotto-Kirkland, Jack, More Judge Sets Down Terms To Lift Ban on Edwin Valero Movie Nicola Adams Leaves Team GB Boxing Setup, Free To Pursue Other Opportunities Steve Goodwin Updates on Stable, Looks Ahead, Reflects on 2016 Eubank Jr: DeGale is One of The Best at 168? That's Embarrassing! Golovkin's Coach on The Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. Catch-Weight Randy Caballero To Return on March 23 on ESPN Card "Fighting Words" - Angel Garcia to Blame, Though We Enabled Him Abel Sanchez: Maybe It Could Be Golovkin-Chavez, Canelo-Jacobs Puerto Rico Commission To Investigate Vazquez Jr. Pay Claims Shawn Porter Tabs Santa Cruz To Beat Frampton in Rematch Chocolatito: All Rungvisai Has is a Punch, It Won't Be That Difficult Klitschko Coach Says Everyone Will Be Shocked After Joshua Fight Nacho: Juan Manuel Marquez Has Not Retired, Wants To Fight Memo: Chavez Jr. Will Be Stronger, No Weight Issues For Canelo Thurman-Garcia: Narvaez vs. Rodriguez Clash is Eyed For Card Rob Brant Stops Alexis Hloros in First at Grand Casino in Hinckley Canelo vs. Chavez is a Fight Boxing Needed, Says De La Hoya David Haye: Chris Eubank Jr. is a Force, He Will Go All The Way Canelo vs. Chavez: Positive Talks Ongoing With MGM, Jerry Jones Conlan Hopes For 'Dream Fight' With Carl Frampton in The Future Top Rank Prez Eyes Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker Unification Jacobs: Most Guys are Beaten Mentally When They Face Golovkin Frampton Expects Rematch With Leo Santa Cruz To Be Easier Tomoki Kameda Returns To Japan on March 10, Faces Tawatchai Carl Greaves Looks Back On 2016, Is Excited About 2017 Jermell Charlo, Gary Russell Mandatory Double Eyed For March 11 De La Hoya: Canelo Beating Chavez Jr. Will Not Satisfy The Critics Cedric Vitu Retains EBU Title, Decisions Isaac Real in Levallois Horn Warns Pacquiao, Top Rank Not To Look Beyond April Fight Angel Garcia, Mayweather Tarnished What Should've Been Good Week for Boxing WBA Champ Ortiz Wins Decision Over Ramos in Mexico City
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement