Corrie Sanders | South African Died a HeroWritten by Sam Gregory
It was confirmed earlier this week 46 year old former WBO Heavyweight Champion Corrie Sanders died as a result of a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Sanders was attending his nephew's 21st birthday party Saturday night at a restaurant outside Brits, northwest of Pretoria when three armed gunmen entered the restaurant and began randomly shooting in an apparent robbery attempt gone awry.
Corrie Sanders was taken to the Kalafong Hospital for treatment where doctors fought hard to save him. Sadly, he was pronounced dead eight hours later.
Sanders, whose last fight was in February of 2008, retired with a record of 43-4 with 31 KO's.
The South African heavyweight is perhaps most known for winning the WBO heavyweight title in March 2003, knocking out heavily-favored Wladimir Klitschko in the second round. A year later, Wladimir's brother, Vitali, stopped Sanders in the eighth round to win the vacant WBC heavyweight title previously held by Lennox Lewis who had recently retired.
It was originally reported that Sanders was attending his daughter's party but the restaurant owner confirmed it was a party for a nephew's son.
Police are working day and night to catch the three thugs responsible for the shooting as a full-scale manhunt is underway.
Reports have recently surfaced that Sanders, in heroic fashion, was lying across his 15 year-old daughter, serving as a human shield as gunfire erupted. Its also believed he whispered to her to pretend she was dead during the violent melee.
If the account is accurate, it's likely Corrie Sanders, the only person hit by gunfire, saved his daughter's life as she and the rest of the youngsters at the party escaped unscathed.
The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, have issued a statement on Sanders' tragic ending.
"We were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Corrie Sanders and we want to express our sincere condolences to his family," said the Klitschkos.
"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."
Outraged, famed Celebrity Boxing host Sergio Michel told FightSaga, "I am shocked, what a shame. Three low-lifes ended such a great ambassador for the sport's life."
Search underway for Sanders' killer
Sam Gregory has been a professional boxing writer since 2002 for publications such as BoxingTalk.com, Boxing Digest, EastsideBoxing.com The Cyberboxing Zone, StraightJab.com, boxingnews24.com and TheSweetScience.com. He has covered numerous fights and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the sport.
As a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, Gregory specializes in boxing history, and contributes regularly to that organization's quarterly publication. He is the author of numerous biographical articles about legendary fighters, classic match-ups, memorable boxing trilogies and other subjects.
He started covering live boxing matches for the website, "Boxingtalk" in February of 2002. The first live event he covered was the Bernard Hopkins-Carl Daniels fight on February 2nd, 2002 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He also wrote several boxing related articles, interviews with boxers and trainers for Boxingtalk.
Among some of the interviews he's done was an interview with Kermit Cintron when he trained at Kings Gym in Reading. He interviewed and wrote an article about the trainers of Wrecking Crew Boxing, Norm Bagi and Lenny De Jesus in New York City. Sam visited Norm and Lenny when they were working out of a gym in the Bronx to photograph them and some of the fighters they were training. 2 or 3 separate articles came out of that one visit, including interviews with and about foreign boxers coming to the U.S. He also wrote a profile for one of their female boxers from the U.K. in order to help obtain an athletes visa for her.
All together he covered about a dozen live events as a correspondent from February of 02' thru the following year, 03'.
The first article he published in Boxing Digest was in the October 02' issue. The article was with Bernard Hopkins at ringside and the questions Sam asked him about up-coming fights, his career, etc...
Sam had about seven more articles published in Boxing Digest until they folded in 2010. The other articles were interviews with fighters, match-ups for up-coming fights and an article about Lennox Lewis at the time of his retirement. The last article he wrote for Boxing Digest was a profile of Jose' Torres when he passed away in 2009.
Sam is a member of the International Boxing Research Organization and has written several articles for their quarterly publication along with participating in the pound for pound weight class ratings for their website. IBRO also held their own Hall-of-Fame voting this year which he also participated in.
He wrote articles and stories for The Sweet Science website from early 04' until the spring of 05'. He was paid in advance by TSS to write 20 articles of my choice about anything regarding boxing from a historical point of view. He wrote biographies, stories about great fight trilogies, match-ups, etc... The Sweet Science had him do an interview with Sharmba Mitchell in 2004 before his second fight with Kostya Tszyu. That interview was also posted on Showtime's website.
Since he wrote his first article for Boxingtalk in February 02', he had articles about upcoming fights, interviews with boxers, trainers and promoters, along with covering boxing matches on TV and live events. published on several boxing websites including, Eastsideboxing, StraightJab.com, BoxingInsider.com, The Cyberboxingzone, aneutralcorner.com and boxingnews24.com. He also had articles and letters published in Boxing Digest and KO magazines.