Lionel Rose statue: Colin Mitchell
By Paul Upham: A 3.6 metre tall tribute statue of former WBC/WBA bantamweight boxing world champion Lionel Rose was unveiled in Victoria, Australia on Wednesday 2 June 2010. The monument in Queens Park, Warragul, the hometown of the Australian boxing great, stands as a reminder of the respect he achieved for both himself and the Aboriginal people.
“He was born here and that’s what special,” said Lionel Rose’s wife Jenny. “He was born here he began his boxing career here, his family is here, his friends are here, everybody is here and we live here now.”
61 year-old Rose, who arrived in a wheelchair and is unable to speak after suffering a stroke in January, held the WBC/WBA bantamweight world titles from February 1968 to August 1969. He retired in 1976 with a record of 42-11 (12).
Fellow Australian world champions Johnny Famechon, Barry Michael, Robbie Peden and Jeff Fenech were also in attendance to support Rose on his special day.
Sculptor Steve Glassoborow was commissioned to create the $180,000 project, with the bronze statue of Rose standing in his boxing stance with his WBC world title around his waist.
Organisers extended thanks to Rob McCarthy, Stephen Mold, Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame President Brett McCormick and the Baw Baw Council for their assistance in making the tribute possible.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” said Aboriginal Liaison Officer & Sweet Science radio show regular Colin Mitchell. “Statues are reserved for people who are dead, not Lionel.”