Manhunt for Corrie Sanders' killers

2012-09-23 22:03
Corrie Sanders (AFP)

Corrie Sanders (AFP)

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Pretoria - The police are working round the clock to arrest the killers of ex-heavyweight boxer Corrie Sanders, who was shot dead during a robbery at a birthday party in Brits, spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said on Sunday night.

The 46-year-old Sanders, who was shot in the stomach during a robbery on Saturday evening, died in the Kalafong Hospital on Sunday morning after undergoing emergency surgery.

Ngubane said there had been no arrests yet.

Sanders was the only one hit during the random shooting.

"Corrie didn't try anything heroic, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Sowetanlive reported a witness as telling sports journalist Neal Collins.

"There were 48 people at the restaurant, it’s just off the main road. We arrived at around 16:00 on Saturday. At about 18:00, as it was getting dark, Mike [Corrie's brother] gave a speech. Then the grandfather stood up and offered a prayer.

"That’s when we heard three or four shots. At first we thought it was the kids playing around. Then we realised it was serious.

"There were three of them. Armed with pistols. They were telling everyone to lie down and give them their wallets and cellphones. They didn’t take much.


They were working their way through the room when a car alarm went off outside and they panicked and ran.

"Corrie was the only one shot.

"He didn’t try anything heroic as far as I could see. He was just in the wrong place, by the entrance. They shot him through the stomach and I also saw a wound in his arm, it might have been from the same bullet, which went right through him.

"I think they shot him as a lesson to the rest of us, to say they were serious."

Children's hero

Corrie's ex-wife, Sunette told EWN that Corrie had been a great father and a hero in his children's eyes.

"He encouraged his children. He didn't always expect them to win, and even if they lost, he was always there to encourage them to do better."

When the boxing website recalled Sanders' career, he was asked to describe his feeling of becoming champion of the world.

Sanders replied: "It's the third best thing that happened to me in my life. The first and the second greatest things are my daughter and my son."

Corrie's long-standing friend, Kallie Knoetze, said he was sure the attackers would be arrested soon.

The news of Sanders' death made headlines worldwide, while sports stars tweeted their grief.


Sanders, nicknamed "The Sniper" in his fighting days, was one of South Africa's most successful boxers on the global stage, winning the WBO title and holding his own against some of the most respected boxers in the world.

The heavyweight southpaw, trained by Harold Volbrecht, fought 46 times in his career, losing only four bouts.

He got off to a great start as a professional, making a name for himself when he won his first 23 fights on the trot in the early 1990's before he was stopped in the second round by Nate Tubbs in his first defeat.

Sanders made his first real breakthrough in May 2000, and while he lost to Hasim Rahman in a seventh-round knockout, the South African had dropped the American as early as the first round, proving his ability in the heavyweight ranks.

"I've never been hit like that in my life," said Rahman, who would go on to beat Lennox Lewis the following year for the WBC, IBO and IBF titles.

After considering retirement, and winning a couple more bouts, Sanders accepted a late invitation in March 2003, at the age of 37, to fight Wladimir Klitschko, and he stopped the Unkrainian in the second round to lift the WBO crown.

Having relinquished the title, after Lewis announced his retirement and Sanders struggled to find a worthy opponent, the South African, now the number one challenger for the WBC belt, went up against Klitschko's older brother, Vitali, and held him off in a gutsy display for eight rounds before he was knocked out.

He retired in 2008, after going down to fellow South African Osborne Machimana in his last contest in the ring.


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