South African heavyweight Corrie Sanders, who beat Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBO world title in 2003, has died after being shot during a robbery.

Sanders caused a major shock when he inflicted a second-round knockout defeat on Klitschko in Hanover nine years ago.

He gave up the belt later in the year and lost in eight rounds to the Ukrainian's brother Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title in Los Angeles in April 2004.

North West Police Brigadier Thulani Ngubane told Press Association Sport that

A gunmen entered a restaurant in the town of Brits, where 46-year-old Sanders was attending his nephew's birthday celebrations.

North West Police Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said: "I can confirm Corrie and his family were celebrating his nephew's birthday, turning 21, and enjoying a meal last night. In the midst of the celebrations, at about 7.45pm in the evening, about three suspects came in.

"They were planning to commit an armed robbery.

"Then in the armed robbery they shot randomly. Corrie was shot in the hand and also the stomach.

"They fled with a digital camera and also a handbag of one of the people who was in the restaurant."

Sanders was rushed to Kalafong hospital but died "in the early hours of the morning", Brigadier Ngubane said.

There have been no arrests in the case, he added, but stated police are "in hot pursuit".