Apostolis (Toli ) Koutsimanis
The Kickboxer's story
From around the young age of 9, I remember being completely in awe of how my grandfather's face would light up as he shared every last detail about the fights he'd watch. He loved everything about sports and kickboxing and it was his intense passion that I watched for years that would eventually see me enter the sport myself.
I remember vividly when he told me how Stan the Man (Stan Longinidis) beat Dennis Alexio with a single low kick, breaking his fibia in under 6 seconds in a highly anticipated kickboxing
match on 6th December in 1992. My grandfather was completely overcome with excitement, I remember him telling the story almost like it was him who'd won, such a priceless memory.
10 years on, I got to watch my first match. I remember every detail like it was yesterday. One of my all-time favourite Kickboxers, Mike Zambidis, beat John Wayne Parr in an Oceania k1 max Title fight match. I was a young impressionable kid and I remember how thrilling it was to see Stan the Man in Mike's corner, guiding him every step and watching and listening to the crowd cheering and chanting hellas Hellas to support Zambidis. It was exhilarating.
As I moved into my early 20s, I began training regularly. I had several amateur fights but it was not until July 2015 that the first opportunity for a professional Light Heavyweight match presented itself. It was up against an interstate opponent from South Australia - Sean Gannon. I had waited for this moment ever since I was a kid. On the night I fought like my grandfather was sitting in the front row and I won the match with a knockout in the first 90 seconds.
Next Friday night, the 8th April, I will have a second opportunity to continue my success and once again honour my grandfather where I will go up against another interstate opponent, this time from Queensland.
I have been so fortunate and humbled by the support I've received so far. Not just from those close to me, but also the local and Greek community, & from complete strangers who follow me on Instagram. Just like Mike, I too am lucky to have my own dedicated crew in my corner.
Without them none of this would be possible so a big thanks to Team Ultimate, all my sponsors and especially my trainers who have helped me every step of the way. A special thanks to John Scida and Joe Demicoli. I'm especially grateful to Tom Goulos who's also been by my side.
Of course I have my sights set on a title match so stay tuned and with some more hard work, dedication and support, hopefully someday soon I'll be updating you all on that match date.