Ex-world heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders died today after being shot by robbers during a family gathering at a restaurant in South Africa.
Sanders, who was celebrating his nephew’s birthday, was shot in the hand and stomach and later died at a hospital in Pretoria.
Sanders was 46.
The heavy-handed Sanders (42-4, 31 KOs) was best known for his fights with the world champion Klitschko brothers. He upset Wladimir, stopping him in the second round to win the WBO world heavyweight title in March, 2003. Sanders then returned to face Vitali for the WBC title in a bloody slug-fest in April, 2004, losing via a eighth-round TKO.
A statement on the Klitschkos’ Facebook page reads, “We were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Corrie Sanders and we want to express our sincere condolences to his family. 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.”
Sanders retired in 2008 after suffering a first-round knockout loss to Osborne Machimana.