Former undisputed Australian kickboxing heavyweight champion, Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis, will join the sporting elite when he is inducted into the prestigious Sport Australia Hall of Fame next month.
Longinidis will receive the highest national sporting honour that can be bestowed when he is officially inducted at The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner, proudly presented by Etihad Airways, on Thursday, 10 October at Crown Melbourne.
The 48-year-old is the first of seven Inductees for 2013.
Better recognised as ‘Stan the Man’, Longinidis had an illustrious career spanning over almost 22 years. He continually posed himself fresh challenges, becoming Australia’s first ever world champ and winning world titles in three styles and three weight divisions.
Longinidis is an unprecedented eight-time world champion, his first title came in 1990 and his last in 1998. He was crowned by the King of Thailand personally when he became the first Westerner to win the world heavyweight muay thai title in 1996 and was also given a lifetime achievement award in France in 2000 for his contribution to the sport of kickboxing.
“For me to win so many different awards and accolades all over the world, to then be acknowledged by The Sport Australia Hall of Fame board for my contribution to kickboxing is very humbling,” Longinidis said of his induction to The Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
“A lot of my memories have been the sacrifices, the perseverance, the patience, pain, the price to achieve your dreams and always preparing yourself for that moment of greatness.”
Longinidis’ career ended with a record of 88 wins, five draws, eight losses, 65 by way of knockout.
Recognising his role in the development of the sport of kickboxing in Australia, Longinidis said he was proud to have paved the way for great future champions.
“I always knew I was going to be the catalyst, I always knew I was going to be a pioneer for other young talented guys to come through. At the end of the day I was aware that I had the mindset that what I was doing was going to be innovative, that I was going to be the first,” Longinidis said.
Robert de Castella MBE, Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee said Inductees needed that special something to be recognised as the pinnacle of Australian sporting excellence.
“To be selected into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame it’s not just a matter of being a champion athlete or sportsperson, you actually have to have a little bit of extra intangible quality that really elevates you into that level of greatness which the Hall of Fame acknowledges and represents.”
De Castella recognised Longinidis’ award as “a really interesting one because it’s a sport that is on the periphery and is often overshadowed by something like the Olympic sports of boxing or taekwondo or judo.”
“In some ways Stan was under-recognised here in Australia but was a real pioneer for the sport of muay thai and kickboxing and the sport has now grown into the mixed martial arts area,” de Castella said.
“Kickboxing has now really evolved into the mixed martial arts, the MMA and UFC, which is some of the biggest and most popular sports and has certainly taken away from the heavy weight boxing with major popularity.”