‘Razor-sharp’ Stan hits a boxing milestone

2014-11-30 15:00

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His favourite response whenever he’s asked about his wellbeing is: “I’m sharp like a razor blade.”

This self-description aptly fits Stanley Christodoulou, South Africa’s internationally acclaimed boxing official.

Last Saturday, the 68-year-old veteran officiated in his 212th world championship bout.

Christodoulou has been involved in boxing since 1963, and is continuing to make waves in the ring globally despite his age.

He has acquitted himself well by handling top-class world title fights as referee and judge. He was one of the judges during the World Boxing Association (WBA) super lightweight title fight in Macau, China, in which American Jessie Vargas beat Mexican Antonio DeMarco by a unanimous points decision to retain his title.

The fight was on the undercard of the World Boxing Organisation welterweight title featuring Filipino idol Manny Pacquiao defending his title against American former kickboxer Chris Algieri.

So accurate was Christodoulou’s judging during the action-packed bout, that he and fellow judges Pinit Prayadsab of Thailand and American Levy Martinez all scored the fight Vargas’ way by 116-112 for a unanimous points victory.

Christodoulou, who is over the moon about his role during the bout, says his judging reflected his vast experience in his officiating career.

“I have been long in the game of boxing and I derive a great deal of joy from being an official. Officiating in the past fight was a great honour for me,” he said.

The former executive director of the now-defunct SA Boxing Board of Control says he prides himself on being the only referee in the world to have refereed ­ in all boxing’s 17 weight divisions during world titles.

His first world title fight assignment as a middleman was in 1973 – the WBA bantamweight title featuring local hero Arnold Taylor against Mexican Romeo Anaya at Rand Stadium in Joburg.

He has been in charge of bouts involving some of the most prominent names in the game, including Argentinian Víctor Galíndez against American Ritchie Kates for the WBA light heavyweight title, also at Rand Stadium, in 1976; and Marvin “Marvellous” Hagler vs Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran in Las Vegas in 1983.

“I am working my way up to being the world’s only official to be a judge in all weight classes. I think I have handled about 10 at the moment,” said Christodoulou.

He regards officiating in the World Boxing Council (WBC), WBA and International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight title fight between American Evander Holyfield and Briton Lennox Lewis at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1999 as one of his most memorable.

“The controversial result was a draw, which meant each fighter retained his own version of the world crown – Holyfield the IBF and WBA belts, and Lewis the WBC crown.

“As one of the judges, I personally thought Lewis had done enough to win that fight,” said Christodoulou.

He is now based in Prince’s Grant Golf Estate in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal.

“I’ve decided to leave my Joburg home with my grandchildren and have peace of mind with my wife Mary in KwaZulu-Natal,” he concluded.

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