Violent crime is regrettably an everyday reality in the New South Africa. On average 50 people are murdered in the country every single day. The murder rate was 37.3 per 100,000 people for the period 2008–09. By means of comparison, the United States – itself with one of the highest per capita incidence of homicide in the industrialized world sat at 4.8 homicides per 100,000 people in 2010.
Corrie Sanders, former WBO heavyweight champion after his shock 2nd Round KO victory over Wladimir Klitschko back in 2003, died after being shot near Brits, near Johannesburg, on Saturday. Sanders was shot dead during a robbery at a birthday party.
“Corrie didn’t try anything heroic, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” according to a witness to the shooting.
Sanders first gained international recognition back in May 2000, in a losing effort to Hasim Rahman. The South African managed to knock the American down in the first & participated in a memorable clash of upwardly mobile heavyweights.
“I’ve never been hit like that in my life,” claimed Rahman, a year before knocking out Lennox Lewis for the WBC, IBO and IBF titles in a Buster Douglas-esque upset win, oddly enough, also in South Africa.
Sanders was a stand out in the amateurs taking the South African heavyweight title every year between 1985 and 1988 before turning pro the following year. The Sniper, as he was to become known, won his first 23 professional fights before a stoppage loss to Nate Tubbs.
Sanders was once asked what it meant to him to become a world champion. “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.”
The Klitschko brothers, whose names will forever be associated with the fallen South African slugger, were prompt in issuing a statement of condolence.
“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.”
Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting.