A Farewell to Emanuel Steward, A Boxing Icon By Media Report on Doghouse Boxing (Nov 13, 2012)
Written by Damian McCann (former Secretary of Belfast Kronk Gym, Ireland).
Legendary boxing icon, Emanuel Steward's memorial service took place today at the
Greater Grace Temple, Detroit. Family, friends and members the boxing
fraternity including Thomas Hearns, Hilmer Kenty, Waldimir Klitschko, Roy Jones
Jr. Lennox Lewis, Andy Lee, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Leonard and Michael Moorer
arrive to pay tribute and their last farewell to Emanuel. Around the world
boxing fans will pause to remember not only a boxing superstar but also a
prince amongst men.
During his lifetime Emanuel amassed a vast wealth of
experience and knowledge of the sweet science. He had many roles in the sport
as a commentator, manager and promoter, but it will be as a trainer that he
will be most remembered in the history of boxing.As an
amateur star he compiled a distinguished record of 97 fights with only 3 losses
including winning the 1963 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Championship in
Chicago. He was inducted into both the
World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the International Hall of Fame in
New York in 1996 in recognition of his achievements and contribution to boxing.
also leaves a legacy as one of the most respected and loved people in the
sport; boxing fans around the world loved him and he loved them. No matter how
busy or gruelling a schedule he had he always had time for a handshake, a
photograph and a conversation.
smile and personable manner endeared him to the hearts of everyone he met touching
all their lives. He was always down to earth, in good form and full of
generosity, he lived to give and that is what made him the people’s champion.
been at the centre of the boxing landscape for over 40 years, his labour of
love seen him develop the Kronk Gym in Detroit, one of the most successful
boxing stables imaginable.
early 1970s from a small boxing gym in the basement of the Kronk Recreational
Centre in the south-west side of Detroit, Emanuel began training kids from the
City’s impoverished neighbourhoods. The centre and gym was named after a hard
working local Polish politician called John F. Kronk.
the last 4 decades the Detroit gym has been a cultivating ground for boxers of
every age, weight, gender and nationality, from legendary world champions to
young amateur prospects.
mid ’70 onwards the young Kronk boxers were unstoppable winning titles galore
at local, regional and national levels of the sport. He transformed the
neighbourhood-boxing club into a world famous boxing gym, training thousands of
amateur kids including the development of 2 Olympic gold medallists in 1984,
Frank Tate and Steve McCrory.
Thomas Hearns and Hilmer Kenty were the first Kronk fighters to turn
professional and Emanuel served as both their trainer and manager. Kenty was
his first world champion in 1980 when he captured the WBA lightweight crown.
‘The Hitman’ Hearns went on to be one of his most successful fighter winning 6
world titles at different weights over a 23-year boxing career. During the
1980s Hearns enthralled boxing fans around the world under Emanuel’s guidance
with historic and classic encounters against Roberto Benitez, Sugar Ray
Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.
During his renowned career Emanuel set a world
record training over 40 world champions including Waldamir Klitschko, Miguel
Cotto, Jermain Taylor, Lennox Lewis, Mark Breland, Jimmy Paul, Michael Moorer,
Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Mike McCallum, Gerald
McClellan, Aaron Pryor and Leon Spinks.
last 10 years he had forged a close relationship and special friendship with world
heavyweight champion, Waldimir Klitschko and Irish world title contender Andy
travelled extensively across the US and Europe as a true ambassador for the
sport, but he loved to get home to Detroit. The city was his spiritual home and
he liked nothing better than go to the Kronk Gym to see his amateur stars. He
once revealed that he may work in Las Vegas and mix with the boxing elite at
the weekends, but it was the kids from the disadvantaged neighbourhoods company
he enjoyed most and that it was them that kept his feet on the ground in life.
Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Eddie Futch before him he is one of the City’s
famous American writer Mark Twain once wrote ‘No man is a failure who has
friends’. Emanuel had friends in every corner of the world; he lived a full and
successful life doing something he loved and was passionate about. He made his
mark and will be remembered with affection by all as a dear friend, a wonderful
human being and one of the greatest trainers that ever lived.
from the cornfields of West Virginia can rest in peace knowing that he always
did his best, and in one lifetime touched the lives of so many boxers and
people. Farwell Emanuel, you will always be in hearts.