The boxing world is in mourning for former WBO world heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders, who was killed today in his native South Africa.
According to reports late last night from BoxingScene.com, the 46-year-old former champion died from injuries sustained in a shooting at a restaurant in Pretoria, South Africa. Sanders was there to celebrate his nephew's 21st birthday.
During the evening three men burst into the restaurant and opened fire. Sanders was hit in the stomach and hand while diving in front of his daughter to protect her.
He was rushed to a local hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, but he later died from his wounds.
The boxing world is in shock over the sudden and tragic passing of Sanders, who burst onto the scene with a stunning second-round TKO of WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2003. He would lose the title in his next fight via eighth-round TKO against older brother Vitali Klitschko.
The Klitschkos released a joint statement today on Sanders' passing:
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.
Sanders retired in 2008 after suffering a first-round knockout loss to Osborne Machimana. He finished his career with a 42-4 record with 31 knockouts.