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 and there were 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.