The senseless death of former W.B.O. heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders is another reminder of how fleeting life can be.
46, was celebrating his nephew Michael's 21st birthday, at a restaurant
in Britz, South Africa last Saturday night when four gunmen burst into
the establishment and began firing. Sanders told his daughter Marinic,
15, to play dead, and then draped his body over her. A burst of gunfire
split the air. Sanders, hit in the hand and abdomen, was rushed to a
hospital in nearby Pretoria where he died eight hours later.
"The Sniper" due to his fast hands, Sanders shocked the boxing world
when he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in 2003 to capture the WBO
heavyweight crown. At 37-years-old, and mostly inactive, many boxing
experts gave Sanders little chance of upsetting Klitschko. Instead,
fighting out of the southpaw stance, Sanders dropped Klistchsko four
times en route to a second round stoppage. The victory catapulted the
South African to the top of the heavyweight division, and motivated big
brother Vitali Klitschko to seek revenge.
Sanders won the South
African heavyweight title when he knocked out Johnny Du Plonny in the
first round in 1991. After being stopped himself by Nate Tubbs, Sanders
rebounded with six straight victories. He outpointed Ross Purity in 1997
to win the vacant WBU heavyweight title. Sanders fought sparingly from
1998-2002. His loss to Hasim Rahman was a painful one. Sanders was able
to hurt Rahman numerous times times during their fight until running out
of gas and being stopped in the seventh round.
got their revenge on Sanders in 2004 when Vitali stopped him in round
eight. Sanders won his next three bouts until running into a hard left
hook from Osborne Machimana in 2007. Sanders couldn't beat the count and
announced his retirement after the bout.
Sanders finished his career with a record of 42 wins and only 4 losses.
The Klitschko brothers released a statement after Sanders death was announced.
were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Corrie Sanders and we want
to express our sincere condolences to his family," said the
"We will remember Corrie as a great person both inside and outside the ring.
“He was a great fighter with a big heart who always positively represented the sport of boxing.”
night it was reported that a heartbroken Marinic, and her 12-year-old
brother Dean, were begging to see their dad one more time.
Rest in peace champ.
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