Boxing: KO for Klitschko's heavyweight hopes - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Boxing: KO for Klitschko's heavyweight hopes

The world of heavyweight boxing was as stunned as Wladimir Klitschko last night when the unrated South African veteran Corrie Sanders stopped the Ukrainian giant who had been touted as the heir-apparent to Lennox Lewis 27 seconds into the second round of their bout in Hanover.

Sanders caught Klitschko, the 1996 Olympic champion and holder of the World Boxing Organisation title, with a short, hard left with 33 seconds left in the first round, then sent him down to the canvas three more times. Klitschko, one of two German-based heavyweight boxing brothers, was defending his title for the sixth time and had been confidently expected to dispatch the 37-year-old journeyman in similar fashion to the fate which instead sensationally befel him.

Sanders, never one of boxing's serious players, immediately jumped into the arms of his trainer, apparently as shocked as the audience, though he said: "I gave myself big chances to beat him – I knew I could do it. But I wasn't planning it that way. It just happened."

What happened was that Sanders, after a slow opening minute, went after the 6ft 7in Klitschko, knocking him down three times in the last minute of the round and forcing the referee's intervention after flooring him again with a left hook early in the second.

It was an expensive aberarration for Klitschko, who had been beaten only once before in 41 fights, as he had just signed a nine-fight deal with the American TV organisation Home Box Office who were hoping to sell him as heavyweight boxing's new white hope.

Indeed, the future of heavyweight boxing was deemed to be in the hands of the dignified, erudite sons of a former Soviet air force colonel, Wladimir, 27, and 31-year-old Vitali. Wladimir had been regarded as the better of the two but Vitali is also seen as being more than a handful for most heavyweights outside the élite. He had been lined up to meet Lewis as a prelude to his brother challenging the Briton in what was projected as the endgame of Lewis's career.

Wladimir's prospects of a multi-million dollar fortune collapsed alongside him last night, but at least Vitali has been named as the next challenger for the newly-acquired World Boxing Association heavyweight belt won last weekend by Roy Jones jnr.

Right now the whole town's talking about the Jones boy. The whole world, too. Is he the greatest boxer ever? The question is posed on the front cover of the trade paper, Boxing News, whose editor, after watching the one-time middleweight champion's classy conquest of John Ruiz in Las Vegas to win the World Boxing Association heavyweight title, declared: "Jones is the finest boxer I have ever seen, in the flesh, or otherwise."

This view from the respected Claude Abrams is one that will be contested by many of those who did observe Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali at the peaks of their respective careers. Sugar Ray Leonard, too.

Yes, Jones is a wonderful craftsman, the best, pound-for-pound boxer of the age, a hi-tech stylist. But let's put his achievement in perspective. He beat a lumbering, humdrum Puerto Rican who does not carry a hurtful punch and whose defensive versatility is limited. He did not beat Lennox Lewis, nor would he.

Meantime it is back to reality here. Audley Harrison's 10th – and last – opponent under his current BBC TV deal at Wembley on 29 March will be 37-year-old Ratko Draskovic, an old banger from the Balkans who at least has never been stopped in 32 bouts. Harrison maintains he does have genuine aspirations to succeed Lewis as a British world champion but no doubt he will have noted the untimely demise last night of a fellow former Olympic champion, which proves once again that there is no such thing as a boxing certainty.

Klitschko obviously suspected as much when he said before the fight: "I've read what's written about me, that the future belongs to me, how I'll dominate the heavyweight division. But I know how fast that can be over – it just takes one blow." Indeed it did.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week