Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Klitschko claims WBC crown

Sanders stopped in eighth round of heavyweight bout

April 25, 2004

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— Vitali Klitschko staked his claim to the heavyweight title and avenged his brother's defeat Saturday in a dominating performance that left Corrie Sanders battered, bloodied and unable to fight back in the eighth round.

Klitschko showed that he belonged among the heavyweight elite, winning the WBC title vacated by the retirement of Lennox Lewis when referee John Schorle stopped the fight at 2:46 of the eighth round with Sanders helpless along the ropes.

Klitschko landed his jab early and often and was sharp with almost all his punches, while Sanders grew increasingly desperate to land a big right hand to try and stem the onslaught.

The fight came to an end after Klitschko landed a big left-right and then backed Sanders up with a flurry of punches. Schorle kept watching to see if Sanders would respond, but when he didn't punch back he wrapped his arms around Sanders and called the fight to an end.

Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, who was knocked out by Sanders last year, rushed into the ring and embraced his brother.

"I had a dream. It's just not my dream, it's a dream of the two brothers Klitschko," Vitali Klitschko said.

Klitschko landed more than half of his punches -- 230 of them by ringside count -- to only 51 by Sanders. The only suspense after the early rounds was whether Sanders would land one big left hand to turn the fight around, and he couldn't.

"I was surprised he never went down. He took so many punches," Klitschko said. "Unbelievable. I was surprised."

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