1968-02-26 Lionel Rose w pts 15 Fighting Harada, Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan - WORLD

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1968-02-26 Lionel Rose w pts 15 Fighting Harada, Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan - WORLD. Referee: Ko Toyama. Scorecards: 72-71, 72-69, 72-70. Once again Harada (117¾) had to lose surplus weight, this time 20 pounds, and it spelt the end for him as a bantam when he went down on points. The hard-hitting Rose (117¾) turned out to be an excellent boxer, who cleverly fought on the back foot to tire the champion out before punishing him in the latter stages.

On 12 March it was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that Takao Sakurai, Eigo Takagi and Kyuzo Hashimoto would be taking part in an elimination series to decide Rose’s next challenger. However, it was the Japanese Boxing Commission who decided that the unbeaten Sakurai was the best man to meet Rose and in mid-May the fight was made. Having taken the bantamweight gold medal at the 1964 Olympic Games, Sakurai had won 22 straight, numbering the former world title challenger, Katsutoshi Aoki, among his victims.