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 Carl Froch, Johnny Nelson Split on Braehmer-Cleverly Outcome Anthony Mundine Seriously Considering a Future in Politics Joseph Parker Aims To Make a Big Statement With Dimitrenko Braehmer-Cleverly: Five Years Later, Yet Right On Time Peter Quillin Starts Rebuilding Career - With Virgil Hunter! Mikkel Kessler Expects Big Things From His Protege Khattab Joseph Parker Compares Younger Brother To 'Little Mike Tyson' Erik Ruiz Shocks Hanzel Martinez, John Vera Blasts Out Zizic Arum: De La Hoya is Like a Momma in How He Protects Canelo! Upset Alert: Dominguez Stops Payasito Hernandez In Four Petrov Batters Perez For TKO, in Line For Linares-Crolla Winner Mike Lee Drops, Outworks Chris Traietti To Grab Clear Decision Mike Towell Dies From Injuries in Knockout Loss To Dale Evans Joseph Parker's Promoter: Andy Ruiz on Board With The Fight Mauricio Herrera vs. Pablo Cesar Cano on November 18 WBO, WBA Keeping Close Eye on Tyson Fury Cocaine Scandal AIBA Developing Anti-Betting Program For Boxers Photos: Humberto Soto, Daniel Ruiz Prepared For Mexican War Klitschko's Manager: Fury is Most Unworthy Champion in History! Ed Brown, Alejandro Hernandez Ready For Respective Bouts Manny Pacquiao: No Reason To Apologize For Past Drug Use Kovalev, Bellew Backing Cleverly To Overcome Braehmer Nehomar Cermeno's Win Opens The Door For Scott Quigg Clash Peralta Leaves Cab at Home, Heads To Miami With New Coach Photos: Joseph Parker, Alexander Dimitrenko - Ready For War Petrov Talks Linares-Crolla, Promises Fireworks With Perez Tyson Fury Tests Positive For Cocaine! Titles in Jeopardy! Braehmer, Cleverly Make Weight For Long Awaited Clash Mundine Wants To Boycott National Anthem, Eyes Politics Stephen A. Smith on Why Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 is Possible Golovkin's Coach: Ward Fight Impossible - He Couldn't Make 168! Telemundo Weights: Hernandez 122, Dominguez 121 Parker Sees Benefits of Fighting in UK Prior To Joshua Showdown Mike Lee: We've Built Up To This, I'm Ready For It, I'm Excited Bradley: There Are Levels; Vargas Will Find Out Against Pacquiao Billy Joe Saunders vs. Artur Akavov Set For October 22 Adrien Broner vs. Ricky Burns Nearly Finalized For December Roach is Concerned: Pacquiao Looks Tired, Sluggish in Sparring WBC Warns Boxers About Dangers of Consuming Energy Drinks Orlando Cruz: I Won't Rest Until I'm First Gay World Champion!
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement