Corrie Sanders Knockouts – The Sniper (Tribute)


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Corrie Sanders was born Cornelius Johannes Sanders on January 7th 1966 in Brits, South Africa. He was an athletic, quick-fisted hard hitting southpaw with a lethal left hand and largely avoided due to the high risk / low reward factor.

As an amateur, he was an outstanding boxer who compiled a record of 196-4 (although some sources indicated his record to be 180-11).

After a successful amateur stint, he began his pro career in April 1989 with a quick KO over King Kong Dyubele and went 10(8)-0 before winning the South African Heavyweight Title via 1st round knockout over former WBO World Heavyweight Title challenger Johnny Du Plooy.

In June 1993, he took on the hard hitting Smokin’ Bert Cooper. In an impressive albeit overlooked performance, Sanders made the former 2x world title challenger quit in the 3rd round as he had no answers to his relentless assault.

He was scheduled to fight Michael Moorer in 1994 but it did not materialize due to Moorer’s unexpected KO loss to George Foreman.

In November 1997, he outpointed iron-jawed Ross Puritty over 12 rounds to bag the WBU (1995-2004) Heavyweight Title. He made 3 successful defenses of the title before losing it to future Lineal Heavyweight Champion Hasim Rahman in an exciting 7 round slugfest in May 2000.

In 2003, his big break finally came when he agreed (on short notice) to fight for the WBO Heavyweight Title against “Dr Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko. Almost 10 other heavyweights have reportedly turned down the offer due to insufficient time needed for preparation.

He was given little chances as he was 11 years older than the 26 year old Ukrainian giant added by the fact that he had much lesser experience at top level. On top of that, Wladimir was considered to be the heir apparent to Lennox Lewis at that point, as the 36 year old British legend was looking towards retirement.

It was the 1st world title shot for Sanders in the 14th year of his pro career.

On March 8th 2003, an undertrained 40-1 betting underdog Sanders shockingly destroyed Wladimir Klitschko with ease; nailing him with thunderous, blinding straight left hands and floored him 4 times in 2 rounds to become the new WBO Heavyweight Champion at 37 years of age.

His swift, one sided beatdown of the young and promising World Champion was his greatest, most memorable career victory. He returned to South Africa a national hero after that, greeted by swarms of fans honoring him for his achievement.

Corrie Sanders became the 2nd South African to become World Heavyweight Champion; 20 years after Gerrie Coetzee won the WBA Heavyweight Title from Michael Dokes in September 1983.

In December 2003, he vacated the WBO Crown to challenge for the vacant WBC World Heavyweight Title. His opponent would be Wladimir’s elder brother Vitali Klitschko aka “Dr Ironfist” who looked to avenge his brother’s devastating loss on top of becoming the new WBC World Heavyweight Champion.

Both fighters met in April 2004 and Sanders, despite underprepared was able to rock a prime and chiseled Vitali several times in the early rounds. After that, he started gassing as Vitali began to gain momentum.

However, it would be a hard fought effort for the elder Klitschko to finish his 38 year old opponent as Sanders refused to back down, and even retaliates time after time despite taking tremendous pummeling.

In the 8th round, referee Jon Schorle finally jumped in to save Sanders from further punishment.

Despite the loss, he gained tremendous respect for his display of fighting heart and toughness considering the fact that he was pushing 40 (whilst undertrained) at the time of the fight.

He would go 3(2)-1 after that and retired in 2008 with a final record of 42(32)-4 after a 20 year career.

Out of his 32 KO wins, more than half (17) took place in the 1st round.

The Sniper had notable wins over Johnny Nelson, Alfred Cole, Carlos De Leon, Johnny Du Plooy, Bert Cooper & Wladimir Klitschko.

According to both Hasim Rahman and Wladimir Klitschko, Sanders was the hardest puncher they had ever faced. Vitali Klitschko had also stated that Sanders was the toughest fight of his career.

On September 22nd 2012, Corrie Sanders was fatally shot during an armed robbery in a restaurant where he was celebrating his nephew’s 21st birthday. He was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria and died from his wounds in the early hours of September 23rd.

The perpetrators were captured days after the robbery and in 2015, they were sentenced to 43 years in prison

Sanders had died a hero as he was protecting his daughter from oncoming bullets using his own body which resulted in his tragic death. He was 46 years old.

Rest in peace champ! You will always be remembered!