WILSHIRE CENTER ATHLETIC CLUB
Aboriginal icon, country music singer and pipe aficionado – Lionel Rose was both a trailblazer and a world beater. In 1968, Rose became Australia’s first indigenous boxing champion when he beat “Fighting” Harada in Tokyo for the bantamweight world title.
He would defend the belt numerous times, most notably against Chucho Castillo, later that same year at the Inglewood Forum in LA. With Elvis Presley (who had visited Rose at his camp) allegedly sitting ringside in a disguise, Rose won a split decision, which prompted the pro-Castillo crowd to tear apart Jack Kent Cook’s new, $16-million arena. Rose escaped the riot unscathed, and left LA with both the belt and this striking t-shirt. He wore it in training the following year in Melbourne, taking a break to calmly puff on a pipe, as he prepared for what would be another successful title defense over Alan Rudkin.
Remaking this shirt was suggested by Phil Lutton (@phillutton), an Australian sports writer and fight fan.