Corrie Sanders, 46, the South African southpaw who is best known for knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in one of the great upsets in heavyweight boxing history, was shot and killed by robbers at a restaurant during a family celebration.
A former WBO and WBU champion, 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.
As reported by the Associated Press:
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 after a nearly 20-year professional career.
Sanders began his boxing career in 1989 with a first-round TKO of King Kong Dyubele. Sanders had 31 career knockouts all in the first round.
Sanders retired in 2008 after being knocked out by Osborne Machimana for the South African heavyweight title - in the first round.
Our thoughts are with Sanders and his family during this time.