Vitali Klitschko vs. Corrie Sanders

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Total Punches Klitschko Sanders
Landed 230 51
Thrown 413 229
Pct. 56% 22%
Power Punches Klitschko Sanders
Landed 171 42
Thrown 285 139
Pct. 60% 30%

Vitali Klitschko 245 lbs beat Corrie Sanders 235 lbs by TKO at 2:46 in round 8 of 12

Klitschko, in 8 Rounds, Beats Sanders for Belt
By Michael Katz, New York Times, April 25, 2004

Klit Sanders DWF15-688823.jpg

The fans booed Lennox Lewis when he entered the Staples Center on Saturday night, and roared for his successor after Vitali Klitschko survived early and late barrages from Corrie Sanders to claim the World Boxing Council title that Lewis vacated in February.

The referee, John Schorle of Sacramento, stopped what had turned into a pounding at 2 minutes 46 seconds of the eighth round, with Sanders still standing after absorbing at least 20 punches without answer.

The bout may not have saved the heavyweight division, but it woke it up. Klitschko, from Ukraine, was ahead of Lewis when they met here 10 months ago, but the bout had to be stopped because of cuts above Klitschko's left eye. Saturday night, Klitschko stamped himself No. 1 among the four heavyweight champions on this planet.

He also avenged a two-round knockout of his little brother, Wladimir, by Sanders 13 months ago.

Sanders, a 38-year-old South African who had been contemplating a professional golf career before stunning the boxing world with his upset of Wladimir Klitschko, found the big brother a much tougher problem: Vitali Klitschko has a chin.

Klitschko took some big left hands in the opening round from Sanders, a southpaw, and though that was the only round Sanders won on all judges' cards, he landed many other big punches later in the fight.

In the eighth, he shocked Klitschko by landing a couple of right hooks and, though tiring and bleeding from the nose, Sanders gave it one more try. He pressured Klitschko and seemed to be turning the bout around when he took a sudden straight right and was hurt.

Klitschko did not let this chance escape.

"I was surprised he never went down," said Klitschko, 34-2 with 33 knockouts. "He took so many punches it was unbelievable."

Klitschko was not interested in fighting any of the three other champions -- Lamon Brewster, who two weeks ago knocked out Wladimir to win the World Boxing Organization title; and Chris Byrd and John Ruiz, who retained their International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association belts last week.

"I hope Lennox Lewis decides to come back and fight me in the same arena and the same ring we did a year ago," said Klitschko, a former Soviet air force officer who has a Ph. D. in sports science from the University of Kiev.

Lewis, who weighs almost 300 pounds, said he had no such plans.

Sanders, 39-3 with 29 knockouts, was taken to a hospital for a hematoma of his left ear.

"He's all right; he's cracking jokes," his manager, Vernon Smith, said. "He took quite a shot behind the left ear. He was exhausted, he was tired. He did not disagree with the referee's decision. He got beaten by a better fighter."

While Klitschko showed more toughness than his brother in absorbing Sanders's best punches, Sanders, until beating Wladimir Klitschko, had not defeated any top-10 heavyweight in a career that began in 1989. He can punch and he has quick hands, but his stamina and desire have always been questionable.

Smith said Sanders would take a long holiday to rest, play golf and evaluate his boxing career.

Klitschko, a solid 245 pounds, fought cautiously after being tagged by the left counters, but when his jab was used, he was able to back Sanders, a pudgy 235, into corners. By the third round, they went toe to toe, to the crowd's delight.

The attendance was announced at 17,230. Maybe 5,000 paid. They all got more than their money's worth.

Preceded by:
Lewis vs. V. Klitschko
WBC Heavyweight Title Fight
# 89
Succeeded by:
V. Klitschko vs. Williams