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  Catching Up With "The Sniper", Corrie Sanders

By Jeff Emond Jeffrey


Corrie Sanders is a former WBO heavyweight champion from Pretoria, South Africa. More so, he was the third southpaw heavyweight champion in history, preceded by Michael Moorer and Chris Byrd and followed by Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov. Sanders was known as a hard puncher and a worthy contender. But due to the fact that orthodox boxers are not comfortable fighting with a southpaw, Sanders was one of the most avoided fighters in the division. However, the Sniper would get his chance in March 2003 against Wladimir Klitschko the heir apparent of Lennox Lewis and didnít miss his target. He destroyed Klitschko inside two rounds, sending him on the canvas four times to finally become champion. Recently, Sanders gave us his thoughts on his career.

Jeff Emond Jeffrey:
How did you become interested in boxing?

Corrie Sanders:
When I was a boy, my father was a boxing coach, he noticed I had skills and taught me how to use them. So I learned from him and thatís how my passion for boxing started.

JEJ:
You fought strong opposition like Mike Williams, Bert Cooper, Bobby Czyz, Johnny Nelson, Carlos De Leon, Ross Puritty among others, what do you have to say about theses victories?

CS:
Iím very happy about them. Iím glad I had the opportunity to have fought so many good fighters in a time when the heavyweight division had more competition.

JEJ:
You were one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters of your time. According to you, why?

CS:
Well, because I am a southpaw fighter and most are right handed. You know, orthodox fighters donít like to fight guys like me, because they have too much trouble trying to avoid a hard straight left hand. It also explains why I had not many opportunities to fight for a world title.

JEJ:
You were supposed to fight the then heavyweight champion Michael Moorer for in 1994. However, Moorer lost the WBA and IBF titles to George Foreman. How come you didnít receive a title shot after that fight?

CS:
I was supposed to fight Moorer before Foreman did. But you know, because of boxing politics sometimes you have to wait a little bit longer and it was not Moorerís fault either. I was a little bit discouraged but Iím just glad I had my chance in 2003.

JEJ:
How came the nickname ďSniperíí?

CS:
One day a fan came to me and told me he wanted my autograph as Corrie Sniper Sanders. My Ex-girlfriend heard it and we decided it would be a great nickname for me as a fighter.

JEJ:
You are also a Golf player, thatís pretty different then being a prize fighter. Any comments?

CS:
Yes it is. But at the same time, playing golf helped me to stay calm and focus in the ring. You could say Golf completed me as an athlete. Plus, I love to play it, this sport brings me so much serenity.

JEJ:
Not long after fighting you, Hasim Rahman said you were the hardest hitter he fought along with Lennox Lewis. Your thoughts?

CS:
I have no shame in losing this battle to Rhaman, it was a hell of a fight and boxing fans enjoyed it. I heard he said that about me, but I donít know if I hit as hard as Lewis, Still, itís a very nice compliment coming from him.

JEJ:
Nobody gave you a chance against Wladimir Klitschko in 2003. Not only you defeat him, but you destroyed him in 2 rounds. How did you figured out how to beat him?

CS:
Thatís a good question. Even if Wladimir had already lost to Ross Puritty early in his career, nobody tried to fight Klitschko on the inside yet, where his good jab canít make a difference. Wladimir didnít know how to defend himself on the inside and he still doesnít today. That is why he keeps his opponents at the end of his jab and throw a straight right behind it, no hooks or else. Itís not entertaining, but that tactic works well for him. Coming into the ring against him I was so focused and I knew what I had to do: fight him at close range with shorts and effectives hooks. If I landed one of my big hooks, I knew I would be able to move and to get him with another. I had the chance to finish him early and I did it!

JEJ:
In April 2004, you fought and lost a valiant battle his brother Vitali for the vacant WBC heavyweight title. After the fight Vitali said he didnít expect such a hard fight with you. Your feelings on fighting Vitali?

CS:
I gave it all that night. Every ounce of strength, but I wasnít enough. Again, I have no shame on losing to a fighter like Vitali, heís a strong guy. More so, Vitali has a great chin. He took my hardest shots and threw back at me. I hurt him in the first round, but he didnít go down. During the first half of the fight, Iíd say it was even. In the third round, we went toe-to-toe, but at the end of the fourth, he started to get the better of me. I was 38 years old at that time, so I was getting tired and I didnít have the energy to carry on much longer in the fight. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining fight and I refused to go down and the referee stopped it in the eighth round.

JEJ:
Can you describe your feeling of becoming champion of the world?

CS:
Itís the third best thing that happened to me in my life. The first and the second greatest things are my daughter and my son. I canít really explain the feeling of finally becoming champion but it was a great moment for me.

JEJ:
Thank you for your time Champion.

CS:
It was my pleasure.



 

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