Stan to notch up double ton
HALL-OF-FAMER Stan Christodoulou is to make a triumphant return to South African boxing on Saturday night when he will notch up his 200th world title bout as an official.
Christodoulou, 67, will referee the main event at Emperors Palace, where Hekkie Budler defends his IBO strawweight belt against Nkosinathi Joyi.
His 199th will be as a judge on the undercard in the IBO junior-bantamweight title fight between holder Gideon Buthelezi and Filipino Edrin Dapudong.
Despite being active out of the country, working mostly for the WBA, Christodoulou last officiated in a world title bout in South Africa in February 2000. That was a junior-flyweight showdown between Baby Jake Matlala and Hawk Makepula.
Christodoulou, who will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a boxing official on August 3, made his debut by accident in 1963 in Standerton, in what is now Mpumalanga.
He went to a tournament as a 17-year-old fan and was asked to fill in after some officials had failed to arrive.
Christodoulou received his first world title assignment 10 years later in 1973, when Arnold Taylor took on Romeo Anaya for the WBA bantamweight crown in Johannesburg.
Taylor survived no fewer than four visits to the canvas before felling the champion in the 14th round. Christodoulou judged Taylor's title loss in 1974 and Pierre Fourie's first failed attempt against Victor Galindez for the WBA light-heavyweight crown in 1975.
His second world title outing as a referee was his bloodiest - the 1976 war in Johannesburg between Galindez and American Richie Kates, which left his shirt crimson. Christodoulou, who still has the stained garment in a frame, made his overseas debut in Spain later that year.
Christodoulou, the first man to officiate in all 17 of modern boxing's weight divisions, in 2004 became the first South African to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canistota, New York, US.
He has refereed super fights like Aaron Pryor against Alexis Arguello and Marvin Hagler vs Roberto Duran, and judged others such as Evander Holyfield vs Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya vs Shane Mosley.
He has also officiated in contests involving stars such as Thomas Hearns, Ray Mancini, Felix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Wladimir Klitschko and Manny Pacquiao. Christodoulou has also reached his 100-mark in South Africa - in 1999, when he refereed Vuyani Bungu against Victor Llerena.