1968-07-02 Lionel Rose w pts 15 Takao Sakurai, Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan - WORLD
1968-07-02 Lionel Rose w pts 15 Takao Sakurai, Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan - WORLD. Referee: Nicholas Pope. Scorecards: 72-71, 72-70, 72-72. Shocked by a second-round knockdown, Rose (118) bounced back aggressively to take the fight to the southpaw challenger, there being several good exchanges until the later rounds when Sakurai (117½) decided to backpedal and score points off the back foot. There was not a great deal in it, but Rose, who was always going forward, deserved the majority decision for making the fight.
Rose’s next defence would be against The Ring magazine’s second-ranked contender, Chucho Castillo, a tough, hard-hitting Mexican who had won 33 of his 40 contests, beating Waldemiro Pinto, Joe Medel, Bernardo Caraballo and Jesus Pimentel along the way.