Former heavyweight boxing champion Corrie Sanders has died after being shot by robbers at a restaurant where his family was celebrating.
Sanders, 46, was killed by bullets to his hand and stomach while celebrating a family member’s 21st birthday party at a restaurant in Brits, South Africa, reports ESPN.
The South African boxer was a heavy-hitting southpaw and fought professionally from 1989 until 2008. He is possibly best known for a major upset of Wladimir Klitschko to win a heavyweight title in March 2003.
While the two never faced each other again, Sanders did face Klitschko’s older brother Vitali. The two fought for the vacant WBC version of the heavyweight crown, but Vitali stopped him in the eighth round. The Klitschko brothers released a statement about Corrie Sanders’ death, saying:
“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.”
USA Today notes that no arrests have been made in the shooting, but a murder investigation has been opened after the 46-year-old former boxer’s death. Police Brigadier Thulani Ngubane stated that three armed men entered the restaurant Sanders was at on Saturday night reportedly with the intention to rob it.
They shot randomly, hitting Sanders but causing no other injuries. The robbers then took a cellphone and a bag from customers before leaving. Corrie Sanders was one of South Africa’s most successful and most popular fighters with a career that spanned almost 20 years.