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Boxing | South Africa

Corrie Sanders (L) and Wladimir Klitschko © Reuters

Corrie Sanders shot dead



The South African who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko has been shot dead in an apparent robbery.

Corrie Sanders, who held the WBO heavyweight title after knocking out Klitschko in Germany in 2003, died after a shooting incident near Brits, north of Johannesburg, on Saturday.

Early reports on News24 and in Sunday newspaper Rapport said he died of a stomach wound after being shot during a birthday party at a restaurant. He was 46 years old.

Sapa reports that Sanders died in Kalafong Hospital on Sunday.

Police said he had been celebrating the birthday of his daughter when three armed men arrived in the restaurant and shot randomly.

Police brigadier Thulani Ngubane said Sanders was shot in the hand and stomach. It appeared the gunmen had gone to the restaurant with the aim to rob it.

"They shot randomly and took a cellphone of the daughter, who was turning 21, and they also took a bag of another patron," he said.

However, Thatch Haven Country Lodge's owner Johan de Jager said Sanders was there to celebrate the birthday of his brother's son. "Michael's son was turning 21, and Corrie was also there when the gunmen came," he said.

Sanders, who was also a single-handicap golfer, sensationally stopped Klitschko in the second round in Hannover.

Having taken the fight at short notice, the southpaw South African was the 40-1 underdog. He dropped the Urainian twice in the first round before the referee stopped the bout in the second.

In his next fight, in 2004, he fought Vitali Klitschko, losing on an eighth-round stoppage in Las Vegas where they met for the vacant WBC title.

Sanders also knocked down Hasim Rahman with a trademark round-house blow in the second round but lost the fight in 2000 in the seventh round.

He made his professional debut in 1989 and had his last fight in 2008, when Osborne Machimana knocked him out in the first round.

He first held the SA heavyweight title when he beat Johnny du Plooy in 1991. He also beat Otis Tisdale and Michael Sprott, both well-known heavyweights.

Sanders finished with a professional record of 42-4, with 31 knockout wins.

OUTSTANDING AMATEUR

RON JACKSON writes that Sanders was born in Johannesburg on January 7, 1966.

He was an outstanding amateur and won the SA heavyweight title in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 before turning professional on April 2, 1989.

His first fight was in Cape Town where he stopped King Kong Dyubele in the first round. He then won his next 22 fights, 15 inside the distance, before being knocked out in the second round by Nate Tubbs at the Carousel, Hammanskraal on May 21, 1994.

On July 27, 1991 he knocked out Du Plooy in the first round to win the vacant SA heavyweight title at Sun City.

He never defended the title as he kept fighting international opponents. He beat Nikolai Kulpin, James Pritchard, Curtis Shephard and Arthur Weathers before outpointing Ross Purrity to win the WBU belt.

He had only six fights from 1998 to 2002, which included the seventh-round stoppage loss to Rahman in Atlantic City in May 2000.

After beating Wladimir Klitschko, he relinquished the WBO title to challenge Vitali for the WBC belt in April 2004. He held his own in the early rounds but tired before he was stopped in the eighth round.

He beat Alexi Varakin, Colin Wilson and, in May 2007, Daniel Bispo from Brazil before losing to Machimana in his last fight on February 2, 2008



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