Klitschko stops Sanders to win WBC title

Vitali Klitschko has won the vacant WBC heavyweight title with an eighth-round stoppage of Corrie Sanders.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Los Angeles:

Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine both staked his claim to the heavyweight title and avenged his brother's defeat on Saturday in a dominating performance that left Corrie Sanders battered and 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. The fight came to an end after Klitschko landed a big left-right and then backed the Sanders up with a flurry of punches. Match referee John 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. Knock out blows Vitali 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. Sanders was bleeding badly from the nose and around the mouth, and his face was marked and swollen by the time the fight ended. Klitschko was a 3-1 favorite, but there were many questions still to be answered about the 6-foot-7 heavyweight even after he went six strong rounds in the same ring with Lewis last year before being stopped on cuts. He answered most of them in a fight that had the crowd of 17,320 standing and cheering much of the way. Sanders left the ring without comment, and his manager said he was taken to a hospital for treatment of an injury to his left ear. The Klitschkos had been boxing's ultimate feel-good story, two giant brothers from Ukraine who were carefully groomed to become heavyweight champions. But Sanders knocked out Wladimir Klitschko last year, resurrecting what had been a mediocre career, and he came into the ring at Staples Center looking to do the same thing against his older brother.(AP)