Stan ‘The Man’ kicks the competition
Kickboxing heavyweight Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis will be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in October, giving the eight time world champion the recognition he deserves
In 102 matches, Stan ‘The Man’ has 88 wins, and 65 knock outs.
In Australia’s great sporting dynasty, many might have forgotten Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis.
Eight time world kickboxing champion, amassing only eight losses out of 102 matches and securing 65 knock outs, Stan was a revelation in the ’80s and ’90s.
Now, Stan will finally be recognised for his very successful 22 year career by being inducted in the Sports Australia Hall of Fame.
He is one of seven taking the prize, and will be awarded on October 10.
The award is a cherry on the top of an illustrious and very successful career.
He was crowned by the King of Thailand personally when he became the first Westerner to win the muay thai title in 1996 and was given a lifetime achievement award in France in 2000 for his contribution to the sport of kickboxing.
The latest honour is humbling for Stan, who still remembers going to Festival Hall in Melbourne to see wrestler Spiros Arion fight.
“I used to put my dad’s belts around my waist and pretend I was a little champ,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
It’s kind of surreal when you look back on it now.”
Chairman of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee, Robert de Castella was particularly impressed with Stan’s career and wanted to give him more recognition, something he thinks was not done at the time.
“[Kickboxing is] a sport that is on the periphery and is often overshadowed by something like the Olympic sports of boxing or taekwondo or judo,” Mr de Castella said.
“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.”
With a life dedicated to training, eating well and hours of exercise, the 48-year-old knew there would be a greater reward in the end.
“The pain, coming home, ice-packing, bruises, all this sort of stuff was all part of paying a price for one day hopefully having a moment like this,” he says.
Stan will be the first to tell you he wasn’t one to shy away from challenges. He wouldn’t obsess over short term goals, but laboured hard at long term goals that would make a real impact in the martial arts world.
From Australian champ, to US champ, the accolades only mattered when he achieved world champion status.
Between 1990 and 1998 he would be crowed with a world champion title each year.
He became one of the few fighters to secure world titles in not just one style, but three, including international rules kickboxing, full contact and muay thai.
“I didn’t want to be a kickboxer, I wanted to be the kickboxer,” he reasons.
One of the hardest things he had to do was mentally prepare himself before a match.
With the hum of the crowd filling the change rooms, Stan would seek out a quiet corner and contemplate what getting in that ring would mean.
“I’d get on my knees and pray that our Lord would protect me and my opponent and all the boys fighting on the night, despite the fact that in my sport the most prestigious way to win was by knockout,” he says.
“That’s the attitude I had.”
While Stan’s intensity might at first be slightly intimidating, his smile and good nature make you realise that being a fighter doesn’t change your personality.
In and outside the ring you can see Stan is a different person.
“I know I can kick a door down, but why kick when there’s a handle,” the gentle giant says.
Now that intensity is being utilised as Stan embarks on his new venture: motivational speaking.
As a man who made a living out of knock outs, picking yourself up is something Stan knows very well.
He’s spoken to children about bullying and violence and inspires the corporate world to strive for long term goals, not settle for short term gratifications.
“Anyone can get knocked down, it’s what you do when you get back up,” he says.
Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis is available for public speaking appearances that can be organised by calling 0407344317.