In 1968 a young Aboriginal boxer with a charming smile punched his way to history when he stopped Fighting Harada in Japan over fifteen rounds.

He was the undisputed bantamweight champion of the world. He was the first black sporting hero. He was Australia's first boxer with a world crown. He was Lionel Rose and two hundred and fifty thousand people hit the streets of Melbourne to welcome him back.

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Lionel Rose became a symbolic figure in the interracial politics of the times. He won his world title just a few months after the referendum, which gave the Australian Government new powers to advance Aboriginal rights.

Over the next few years he married his childhood sweetheart in a blaze of publicity, defended his crown, spent his money on his family, gambling, drugs and low life companionship. Four years later Lionel Rose lost his title, his marriage broke up, and he tangled with the law, did time, briefly became a country music star followed by his subsequent fall from fame.

Rose Against The Odds tells the true life story of Aboriginal boxer Lionel Rose from his heyday in the late 1960's as World Bantamweight Champion to his later struggles as an alcoholic thief.


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