Catching Up With "The Sniper",
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
Jeff Emond Jeffrey: How did you become interested in
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
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
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
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.
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.