Former coach stunned over death of Corrie Sanders

Volbrecht, who trained Sanders for the first 14 years of the heavyweight champion's professional career, said on Sunday they had a shared a close relationship.

Sanders (46) was killed during a robbery at a restaurant in Brits, North West, on Saturday night.

"I took over as his trainer for his first professional fight [against King Kong Dyubele in April 1989]," Volbrecht said. "I flew to Cape Town, where Corrie stayed at the time, to watch the fight, and I brought him back with me [to Benoni] afterwards.

"He stayed with me and my family until he got married. He was like a son to me."

Volbrecht said he had been fortunate to train some of the country's most prized pugilists, including former IBF lightweight title holder Philip Holiday, and IBF and WBA super-featherweight champion Brian Mitchell, but he was closer to Sanders than any of the other fighters under his tutelage.

"Corrie was different because he stayed in my house," Volbrecht said. "We were much closer because I gave him daily advice. We had a very good relationship."

Sanders beat Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in a second-round technical knockout in Hannover, Germany, to win the WBO heavyweight title in March 2003. The following year he held Klitschko's older brother Vitali for eight rounds before the fight was stopped in Los Angeles, California.

He retired in February 2008, after 46 professional fights, with 42 wins (31 of them by knockout) and only four defeats.

"He was a brilliant all-round sportsman," Volbrecht said. "A lot of people assume, because he was a big guy, that he had a powerful punch, but he was not a powerful guy who picked up heavy weights.

"His hand speed and accuracy made him so effective.

"Muscle means nothing in boxing, and Corrie knew that. He understood the techniques of the sport."

Volbrecht said Sanders, a keen golfer, had hoped to turn professional and wanted to play on the Champions Tour after he turned 50. "It was his dream to play on the seniors tour as a professional golfer," Volbrecht said.

"He had another four years to wait, but he was a brilliant golfer because he hit the ball so far."

Volbrecht had been stunned to hear of Sanders' death on Sunday morning. "How does somebody walk into a restaurant while people are eating and just start shooting? It doesn't make any sense," he said.

"I can't believe it. It's so senseless, like something out of a wild west movie." – Sapa

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Wesley Botton
Wesley Botton works from Johannesburg. Watches people run, jump and throw. Can juggle three apples and count to 10 in four languages. Chief sports reporter for The Citizen newspaper. My views Wesley Botton has over 3707 followers on Twitter.
Advertisting

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

M&G’s latest Covid-19 projections

Covid-19 numbers are prompting disaster declarations and dramatic action across South Africa this week. All steps should be directed by numbers

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories