South African heavyweight Corrie Sanders was tragically killed in September of 2012, Corrie shot and killed during an armed robbery in Pretoria. Sanders met a shocking and senseless end, yet during his career, Sanders added plenty of drama and excitement to the heavyweight division.
And Sanders scored a big upset win on this day 20 years ago.
Known as “The Sniper,” Sanders was a powerful and dangerous southpaw who went pro in April of 1989. In his 11th pro fight, Sanders stopped Johnny DuPlooy in a round to win the vacant South African heavyweight belt, this at age 24. Sanders went on to score wins over Johnny Nelson (the British stylist who would later enjoy a long reign at cruiserweight), Bert Cooper, and Mike Williams. Before Sanders was shocked in a couple of rounds by Nate Tubbs.
Regrouping after losing his unbeaten record, Sanders crushed former cruiserweight champ Carlos de Leon in a round, while in 1998 Sanders stopped Bobby Czyz to retain the WBU heavyweight title he had won by decisioning Ross Puritty in his previous fight; the Czyz win taking place in America. In May of 2000, Sanders was stopped by Hasim Rahman, and his best days seemed to have passed him by.
But then, on March 8 of 2003 in Hanover, Germany, Sanders scored his career biggest win. Going up against a 40-1 Wladimir Klitschko (the sole loss coming against common opponent Puritty) Sanders shocked the future great, dropping him twice in the opening round and then twice more in round two to get the stoppage victory that saw him win the WBO heavyweight title.
In his very next fight, over a full year later, Sanders went in with big brother Vitali Klitschko. After an at times great battle, Sanders was stopped in the eighth round of a fight that contested the WBC and Ring Magazine heavyweight titles. Now 39-3, 37 year old Sanders had just four more fights, winning three and then being stopped in a round in his final ring appearance, this by Osborne Machimana in a fight for the South African belt Sanders had previously held. Sanders’ final numbers read 42-4(31). Very much a destroy or be destroyed puncher, Sanders was involved in a number of exciting rumbles.
Corrie was just 46 when his life was so senselessly taken.