Stan Christoloudou received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 13th Annual SA Sport Awards held in Bloemfontein on Sunday, 11 November 2018. The veteran boxing Ring Official had this to say in his acceptance speech:
“I accept the Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievers Award this evening with enormous gratitude and pride. To be recognized as having made a difference to others through my involvement in the sport that has been my life’s work, is truly satisfying and humbling.
And certainly, professional boxing has been my life’s work.
It is just over 55 years ago that I first walked into a tournament in Kwathema to watch the South African middleweight champion Joe ‘The Axe Killer’ Ngidi knock out his challenger, Carlton ‘The Fighting Fiend’ Monnakgotla. From that dramatic moment onwards, boxing had me in its grip and it has never let go.
The very next night, I judged my first professional bouts, all 9 fights on the card at Sakhile township near Standerton and my career as a boxing official, and later as an administrator, had begun.
As that young man of 17, I could never have dreamed that professional boxing would give me so much during my lifetime: that I would lead South African boxing for 29 years, that I would one day referee or judge 242 world title fights and that I would share the ring with fighting legends like Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Alexis Arguello and Gennady Golovkin.
But honestly, the highlight of my career has always been far from the bright lights of Las Vegas or Madison Square Garden and far from the CEO’s desk in Johannesburg. The times that I look back on with most satisfaction are the ones spent here in South Africa, in and around the boxing rings of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, and in Soweto, KwaThema, Atteridgeville, Natalspruit and Daveyton. In the thousands of bouts that I have officiated, I’ve seen outstanding champions like Enoch ‘Schoolboy’ Nhlapo, Elijah ‘Tap Tap’ Makhathini, Gerrie Coetzee, Brian Mitchell and Vuyani Bungu, amongst many others. More often, I have been in the ring with journeymen, boxers whose dreams in the ring far outweighed their ability. But the truth is I have admired them all equally, champions or journeymen, for both require the same raw courage to step into a professional boxing ring.
Tonight, in receiving this award, I dedicate it to those wonderful fighters of South Africa, who, over my lifetime, have allowed me to share their triumphs and defeats.
I am most grateful.”