First on EWN: Klitschko pays tribute to Sanders

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko speaks about his relationship with Corrie Sanders.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Corrie Sanders. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Speaking exclusively to EWN Sport, heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitscko paid tribute Corrie Sanders, a man he sees integral to his own rise to the top of the boxing world.

Sanders was tragically shot and killed in a restaurant robbery in Brits over the weekend while attending his nephew's 21st birthday party.

Klitschko, the current International Boxing Federation (IBF), International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Heavyweight Champion, famously lost to Sanders in 2003.

Sanders also went on to fight Klitschko's elder brother Vitaly in 2004, losing in an eight-round knockout.

Speaking to EWN Sport from Germany, the younger Klitschko said that he will never forget the impact that Sanders had on his own career.

"Actually, I appreciate him more because he made me the boxer that I am today. The loss against him changed a side of my character tremendously, it made me tougher and it made me better. Without my experience with Corrie, I wouldn't be the same way."

Klitschko told EWN Sport that his loss in 2003 was the toughest of his entire career.

"Before and after the Corrie Sanders fight, nobody beat me the way he did."

He said the loss of Sanders will be felt far and wide in the boxing community.

"The boxing world will remember Corrie as a heavy hitter and a good man. I have nothing bad to say about Corrie at all."