Sanders shocks Klitschko!
Photo courtesy of BBC Sports


HANOVER, Germany -- In a major upset, South African Corrie Sanders (39-2, 29 KOs) knocked out WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (40-2, 37 KOs), flooring him four times in two rounds on the way to an improbable second-round TKO.

The 37-year-old Sanders, a southpaw not heralded as a major contender in the heavyweight division, was meant to be a pushover opponent for the younger Klitschko, who many saw as the immediate heir to heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Sanders however had different plans for this night. Referee Genaro Rodriguez decides that Klitschko has had enough.

The South African has a history as a quick starter with 18 first-round knockouts--that showed in this bout. While the opening round began cautiously, a Sanders straight left snapped Klitschko's head back with one minute remaining, badly hurting the champion.

Sanders saw his opportunity and attacked Klitschko aggressively, dropping the Ukrainian with another straight left with 33 seconds left in the round and once again with a left hook as the round came to a close.

Smelling blood, Sanders pounced on the ailing champion to open the second round, flooring him a third time with another straight left just under ten seconds into the round. Klitschko rose to his feet once again but was dropped a fourth time 20 seconds later by a Sanders left hook.

Referee Genaro Rodriguez then stopped the fight with 2:33 remaining in the second round, leaving the crowd of more than 10,000 in the Preussal Arena speechless.

Klitschko appeared to have trouble adjusting to Sanders' southpaw style, absorbing numerous straight lefts and left hooks. His critics who questioned his ability to take a punch were answered tonight with four knockdowns in only two rounds.

After the fight, Klitschko said he would press for a rematch with the new WBO heavyweight champion.

"Believe me, I will get the rematch," he said. "I have the right on that."

Story © Andres Buenaventura 2003. All rights reserved.