CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Corrie Sanders, the South African southpaw who knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in one of the great upsets in heavyweight boxing, has died after being shot by robbers at a restaurant during a family celebration.
The former WBO and WBU champion was 46.
Sanders was shot in the hand and stomach at a family member’s 21st birthday party at the restaurant in Brits, in South Africa’s North West province, on Saturday night, police said. He died in a hospital in the capital city of Pretoria in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said three armed men entered the restaurant with the apparent intention to rob it and shot randomly, hitting Sanders. No other injuries were reported. The robbers took a cellphone and a bag from customers, Ngubane said.
No arrests had been made but a murder investigation has been opened.
Renowned for his hand speed, the 6-foot-4 Sanders was one of South Africa’s most successful and popular fighters over a nearly 20-year professional career. He retired in 2008 with a 42-4 record, with 31 knockouts. But he was most remembered for the shocking second-round knockout of Klitschko in Germany in 2003 that earned him the WBO title.