By Ron Jackson
Despite South Africa’s boxing isolation during the apartheid years, South Africa’s greatest referee and possibly one of the top three referees of all time in the world, Stan Christodoulou has survived through turbulent times as an official and administrator, since he was introduced to the professional game by four-weight South Africa boxing champion, the legendary Willie Toweel in 1963.
Australian writer Graham Clark and award-winning sports journalist David Isaacson tell the story of Christodoulou’s amazing journey through the townships and around the world from his humble beginnings in Brixton, in his recently published book, The Life and Times of Stanley Christodoulou – The Remarkable Story of World Boxing’s Championship Referee and Judge.
It was an early and frightening baptism for Stan when at the age of 18 he judged four fights at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on February 8, 1964, with the main bout between Joe “Axe” Killer” Ngidi and Joas “Kangaroo” Maoto, for the South Africa non-White welterweight title.
He was privileged to learn his trade as an official in the black townships when whites were not allowed to enter into the townships without a permit during the restrictive apartheid era.
Among the black South African fighters in which he was a judge or referee were Mackeed Mofokeng, Caswell Juqulu, Joe “Green Cobra” Gumede, Henry Sidumo, Levi Madi, Enoch “Schoolboy” Nhlapo and many others.
However, the two fights that made him as a referee which came later in his career, was the epic Arnold Taylor vs Romeo Anaya, WBA bantamweight title fight on November 3, 1973 and another epic encounter on May 22, 1976 with Victor Galindez retaining his WBA light- heavyweight title, on a fifteen round knockout against Richie Kates, with one second left in the final round.
These two fights are the greatest two world title fight ever in the history of South African boxing and two of the greatest in the world.
From there on it was a trip around the world from October 8, 1976 in Madrid, Spain to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15, 2018, involving 242 world championships fights as a referee and judge.
If there is one criticism it is the authors referring to world championship fights at times when in reality they are fights for one or other of the word boxing organizations.
However, this does not take away from the book which is one of my top three boxing books of all time and a welcome addition to my boxing library of 1300 books.
This is a must read for a boxing fan worldwide and one of those books you cannot put down.
The book is in paperback with 305 pages and many photographs of the people in Stan’s life.
It is published by Staging Post in Auckland Park, Johannesburg and will be available through all Exclusive Book Stores and the CNA chain, as well as other outlets in South Africa from April 5.
It will also be available online via Amazon as a hardcopy (Print on Demand format) and as an eBook shortly.