Detroit Kronk Boxing Icon and Legend in Boxing History Emanuel Steward Dies at 68

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Detroit Kronk boxing icon and legend in boxing history Emanuel Steward dead at 68

AJ w/Manny, Jamal, Shapiro

Emanuel Steward, the godfather of Detroit boxing and driving force behind the world-famous Kronk Gym, died Thursday, October 25, 2012 surrounded by his family. Steward died in Zion, Ill., where he had been treated at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Steward, 68, the man who discovered and mentored the great Thomas Hearns, had fought for several weeks against a foe thought by many to be colon cancer — although his sister, Diane Steward-Jones, publicly described the ailment as diverticulitis.

“He has passed — he has gone home,” Steward-Jones told the Free Press by phone less than half an hour after Steward’s death. “He was in no pain, and we sang to him, as well as did the doctors present. He had loved ones around him.”

One of the greatest trainers in the history of boxing, Steward underwent surgery in the Chicago area in September and had not returned to his Rosedale Park home. He died peacefully at 2:46 p.m. Thursday, said Steward-Jones, who handled business matters and public relations for her brother. The body of the boxing icon was returned to Detroit.

Steward-Jones said that, toward the end, her brother still was trying to recruit male nurses and other medical staff at the hospital to box for him.

“They loved him,” Steward-Jones said. “He’d tell them to lose some weight and fight for him.”

As she spoke to the Free Press, Steward-Jones said she was trying to stay busy tidying up Steward’s hospital room.

“He gave it his all,” she said. “But he’s been called away now.”

Steward’s sister, Diane Steward-Jones, told the Free Press today that a memorial service tentatively has been set for the Hall of Fame fight trainer on Nov. 13 at Greater Grace Temple (23500 W. 7 Mile Road in Detroit). There will be visitation with family and friends at 11 a.m. followed by a noon memorial service at the church. Manny was survived by his wife, Marie; daughters, Sylvia Steward-Williams and Sylvette Steward; and sisters, Diane-Steward Jones and Lavern Hestler.

Steward, who lived in Rosedale Park, was training world heavyweight champ Wladamir Klitschko prior to falling ill several months ago.

Born in Bottom Creek, W.Va., Steward moved at age 12 with his mother to Detroit, where he became a street-smart kid with a short fuse and quick fists.

In a life-changing move away from street gangs, Steward joined the Brewster Recreation Center and began an amateur boxing career, where in 1963, 18-year old Emanuel Steward, fighting as a bantamweight, won the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.

He looked forward to a career as a professional, but after failing to find what he considered to be honest management and with his family needing his financial support, Steward became a lineman with the city before he and his half brother, James Steward, began coaching at the Kronk, a hotbed for young amateur fighters on McGraw in Detroit. But he never wandered too far from the fight game.

In 1971 Steward accepted a part-time position as head coach of the boxing program at the Kronk Recreation Center. When his young team won the Detroit Golden Gloves team title that same year, the Kronk Dynasty was born. Steward took the Kronk to dizzying heights in the 1970s and ’80s, transforming a skinny neighborhood kid named Thomas Hearns into one of the most devastating punchers in the history of the ring.

In March 1972, Steward left Detroit Edison to become a full-time trainer/manager. Five years later, with the newly formed ESCOT (Emanuel Steward’s Champions of Tomorrow) Boxing Enterprises, Inc., he ventured into the world of professional boxing with an 18-year old slugger named Tommy Hearns. Hearns went on to win world titles in five different weight classes on his way to boxing immortality.

Oscar, Emanuel, Lennox

Steward’s reputation as a trainer grew by leaps and bounds after that, and with it grew the number of champions under his tutelage. In addition to the 50 plus world champions he has managed, he also developed six gold medal winners for the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, including Pernell Whitaker, Mark Breland, Terrell Biggs, Jerry Page, Frank Tate and Steve McCrory. He mentored a gallery of supporting champs over the years, including Hilmer Kenty, Jimmy Paul, Duane Thomas, Dennis Andries, Steve McCrory, Milton McCrory, Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and present-day heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko, whom Steward was training until he recently fell ill.

Klitschko, in a statement, said: “It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend. … I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade. I will miss our time together.”

Steward continued to work with the young fighters at the Kronk Boxing Gym, in which he has found a new home in Oakland County opening in 2009′ He is a welcome addition as expert commentator to HBO’s World Championship Boxing and HBO Pay-Per-View coverage.

Joni Mitchell was partially correct: We (sometimes) don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. This has been true with regrettable frequency this year with the deaths of multiple fighters and notable figures in boxing. In many cases we mourn people whose names might not have passed through our lips in quite some time, as befitting the nature of a sport in which those no longer in the spotlight are left to fade away quietly.

That does not mean their losses mean less.

We paid just tribute to Corrie Sanders, for example, whose imprint had been left on us following his brief ascent toward the top of the sport when he had summarily dispatched of Wladimir Klitschko in less than two rounds, and whose battles with Vitali Klitschko and Hasim Rahman had been valiant even though he was not victorious.

And we gave due respect to Angelo Dundee, the famed trainer who had been in the corner of two of the United States’ most acclaimed boxers in Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, who had worked with several others, and who had long been established as a piece of living history.

There was no mental separation with Emanuel Steward, however. He was here, and now he is gone. His death hits particularly hard. It’s not just because of how quickly he passed away, but also because we knew what we had with him — because of how long he had held such a strong and positive influence on the sport.

It is a big loss for boxing. He is being justly eulogized and canonized with every story, every recollection, every reflection.
It is only natural for many of these memories to be of the personal variety. That is the frame of reference that helps give a life full context. Steward’s 68 years on this earth did not just bring about his individual accomplishments. In that time he also left his mark on so many who knew him, be it for a moment or for decades, and be they boxers, his colleagues or the many in the media with whom he had corresponded.

There were the world champions. Taking a boxer to a title belt seems less of a feat in this era of four major sanctioning bodies. Take into consideration, then, his longevity and consistency. Steward brought his first contender to the top in 1980 with lightweight Hilmer Kenty and continued to do so for three decades, guiding Cornelius Bundrage to a claim of the junior middleweight division in 2010.
“In all, Steward managed over 50 world champions. “In that regard, Steward is the most decorated trainer in history; Freddie Roach has guided 25 titlists while [Eddie] Futch and Ray Arcel seconded 22 and 19, respectively, during their much more restrictive eras.” said boxing historian Lee Groves last week on

He didn’t just groom talent, but attracted it, too, with boxers turning to Steward to make them better. His was an expert eye, a trusted voice, a guru who they believed could rebuild those who had been destroyed and who could cap off those who were nearly complete.
Boxing is a business. And so many of the tributes to Steward have noted how he became a “hired gun” for some boxers. Where he truly stood out, however, is in the men he groomed, both in the Kronk Gym that became synonymous with his name and in the relationships he forged with those fighters.

Andy Lee had lived with Steward since 2006, the middleweight told Dan Rafael of last week.

“He likes to keep an eye on his fighters,” Lee said. “I was going into a home environment at the house.”

For once, boxing wasn’t just about money or fame, but about men who became family. Thomas Hearns described Steward as “the father he never had,” while speaking last week to Lem Satterfield of

“He helped me to become the man that I’ve become today,” Hearns said. “He taught me right from wrong, and he taught me about living. So with Emanuel Steward, our relationship wasn’t just about boxing to me.”

The truly great in this world earn such stature not just with the big things, but with the little things as well. Roy Jones Jr. spoke on HBO this past weekend of how he had turned down an offer to work with Steward when he first turned pro and opted instead to work with his father. Yet the fact that Steward had approached him left an imprint on the young Olympian. Now nearly 25 years into his pro career, Jones said he still carries a Kronk Gym bag with him.

Several journalists wrote last week of their relationships with Steward, of his responsibility in returning calls, of his generosity in the time he would give them, of the stories he would tell them. These were traits that writers do not take for granted.
These all were traits, professional and personal, that will leave a lasting legacy: He made Hall of Fame fighters. He had a Hall of Fame career. He seemed to personify an honor that is rare in what can be a brutal sport and a cutthroat business.
It pains everyone who knew him and loved him to have to speak or write the words that pay tribute to him. He deserves them all, but he didn’t deserve to die so soon.

The first public inkling of his declining health came in September, when the HBO commentator — another role in which he earned respect — missed two straight broadcasts due to an undisclosed illness. No one publicly disclosed just how serious Steward’s situation was. But the word began to spread about the grim diagnosis.
Less than two months later, he’s gone.

We knew what Emanuel Steward brought to this world. We know just how much we’ll be missing now that he has passed. It’s often said that you make your mark by what you leave behind.

Emanuel Steward left behind more than many — and that is why we are left with such sorrow in our hearts. His loss is truly our loss.
Here are some remembrances of Steward:

Thomas Hearns, a world champion in six weight classes, and his son, Ronald Hearns, were shattered by the news that Steward had died.

“Emanuel was like a daddy to me,” the older Hearns said. “The man literally changed my life. I loved him and respected him so much.”

Ronald Hearns, also a fighter, grew up around Steward and his father at Kronk Gym.

“It’s crushing,” the younger Hearns said. “Emanuel always made me feel like one of the family. Emanuel loved me. He always told me that God has a plan for you. I’m feeling so sad right now.”

Manny at Sports Image Awards

Business Manager and friend Abdul-Jalil said “You were, are and always will be the BEST EVER!!! Even Ali will give you his title the “GOAT” Greatest of All Times! My heartfelt love to Marie, Sylvia, Sylvette, Anita, Diane and Lavern. I am truly honored to have had you all in my life with Manny!”

“Boxing has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Emanuel Steward. Vitali and I, along with the entire Team Klitschko, send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Emanuel’s family and friends.
It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend, well I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade. I will miss our time together. The long talks about boxing, the world, and life itself. Most of all I will miss our friendship.
My team and I will carry on with the goals we had set while Emanuel was with us because that is exactly what Emanuel would have wanted. I know he will be with us in spirit along the way and we will accomplish these goals in his honor.
Rest in peace Emanuel. You will be greatly missed. Until we meet again my friend.”
-Wladimir Klitschko

“It brings me great grief and sadness to hear of the passing of one of the best and most respected trainers of this era, Emanuel Steward. I learned a lot from him during our professional relationship and I will be forever grateful for his help during that time. We were also friends and I know I am going to miss him as so many others will too.  He was an important part of our boxing community.”
– Oscar De La Hoya

“I’m completely devastated by the passing of my long time friend, mentor and trainer Emanuel “Manny” Steward. Manny has helped me get through some of the biggest fights in my career and I only regret that I couldn’t return the favor and see him through his biggest fight.
We’ve maintained a close relationship and the last time we spoke he seemed his usual upbeat self so it was very disturbing to hear about his illness and rapid decline. It is with a heavy heart that realization of what I hoped were just rumors are now in fact true. Manny always told me I was the best, but the truth is, HE was the best and I’m grateful, privileged and honored to be counted among his many historic successes.
This has been a very tragic year for the boxing world, but today we’ve truly lost one of it’s crown jewels. Manny was giving, selfless, compassionate and stern. He always gave back to the community and never forgot where he came from. He was an institution unto himself and I’m proud to have had him in my corner for so many years.
I’m extremely grateful for the time that I was given with him and he will be severely missed by all who knew and loved him. I’ll miss his smile, his frank no holds barred truthfulness and our discussions on boxing and life. My prayers and condolences go out to his family at this very difficult time.
-Lennox Lewis

One of Steward’s longtime friends, is heartbroken by his passing. “Twenty-four hours have gone by since the passing of Emanuel Steward. It has been and remains an emotionally painful time dealing with this loss,” Buffer said. “I am still unable to actually speak without choking up. The comments and statements of admiration and respect, honoring and memorializing his life, legacy and career have been honest, beautiful and deserving. He was and shall always be true boxing royalty. But to those of us blessed to have been closer he was so very much more. As a fan and colleague, I mourn the loss of a legend, an icon. As a friend, I have lost a loved one and my heart is broken.”
-Ring announcer Michael Buffer

“There are no adequate words to describe the enormous degree of sadness and loss we feel at HBO Sports with the tragic passing of Manny Steward. For more than a decade, Manny was a respected colleague who taught us so much not only about the sweet science but also about friendship and loyalty. His energy, enthusiasm and bright smile were a constant presence. Ten bells do not seem enough to mourn his passing. His contributions to the sport and to HBO will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” -Ken Hershman, President, HBO Sports

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the legendary Emanuel Steward today. Not only was Emanuel one of the most esteemed and accomplished boxing trainers in the history of the sport, he was also an incredibly generous and warm-hearted human being. In addition to his many professional pursuits, Emanuel served as a life coach to countless young men and women, particularly in his beloved adopted hometown of Detroit, and through them his legacy will live on. Those who were fortunate enough to have known Emanuel will remember him for his infectious enthusiasm, ever-present smile and seemingly limitless generosity. We extend our deepest condolences to the Steward family during this difficult time. He will be missed by everyone his spirit touched.”
– Stephen Espinoza, Showtime

“Steward and many of his Kronk protégé were fixtures in the infancy of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING in the late 1980’s. Over the years, we became close personal friends. He will be missed by all of us in the sport. Moreover, the sport will miss what he embodied in boxing–everything that is good and right about this business.  It’s a terrible shame that his life was cut short. Men like Emanuel Steward are irreplaceable.”
-David Dinkins, Jr., Showtime TV

Emanuel Steward passing today is biggest loss to boxing in long time. he’ll be greatly missed. my thoughts prayers are w his family
– Freddie Roach, Legendary Boxing Trainer

Now that his sister has confirmed it we can say that Manny Steward has passed away. I am numb as are so many others who call him friend.
-Al Bernstein, Boxing Announcer

Jackie Kallen, a former Kronk public relations person and later manager of world champion James Toney, broke down at the news.

“I will never get over losing Emanuel Steward,” said Kallen, the inspiration for the 2004 movie “Against the Ropes,” starring Meg Ryan.

“I can’t tell you how much he meant to a young Jewish girl like me trying to establish myself in the boxing game. I’d be nothing in my life and in the world of boxing without Emanuel. My heart is broken.”

Anita Ruiz, executive director of the Kronk Gym Foundation, one of Steward’s fund-raisers for at-risk youth, and a friend, said she would commit to keeping Steward’s charity work going in his memory.

“I’m committed to carry on the Kronk Gym Foundation,” Ruiz said. “First and foremost, I thank God for allowing me to share part of Emanuel’s life with him, and I send my condolences to his family. I thank God for the years working with him. I loved him very much.”

Joseph Donofrio, longtime boxing and MMA promoter at the Palace in Auburn Hills, said he learned plenty from Steward.

“Emanuel was a great inspiration in my life,” Donofrio said. “He taught me how to promote. He was a legend in Detroit. He taught me you have to give the fans a great product and they’ll show their appreciation in ticket sales. He was one of the best trainers, managers and sometime promoters in the world.”

Although the original Kronk Gym, which was housed in the basement of the Kronk Recreation Center, was closed by the City of Detroit because of financial hardship in 2006, Steward was able to relocate the heart and soul of the Kronk to a small building on West Warren, a few blocks west of Southfield Road, where champions and street kids still train on heavy bags shoulder-to-shoulder.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement Thursday afternoon: “With the loss of Emanuel Steward, we have lost a true Detroit icon. Emanuel Steward embodied our city’s toughness, our competitive spirit and our determination to always answer the bell.

“We are grateful for Emanuel Steward’s many contributions to our city and his impact on generations of young people.”

Earlier Thursday, Frank Garza, a leading Michigan fight referee, said of his friend: “Emanuel was Mr. Boxing in Detroit. He was like Gordie Howe is to Detroit hockey and Al Kaline to Detroit baseball.

“He loved to live and he loved to give. He was a down-to-earth guy when you were with him. As a trainer, he was a brilliant strategist. If you ever wanted to win a fight, you just listened to his advice.”

Steward, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, worked for 11 years as an HBO color boxing analyst. He also was relentless in his charity work around Detroit despite his heavy workload of training the best fighters in the world and up-and-coming amateurs.

Dr. James Weber, chairman of the Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission, was gutted by Steward’s death.

“It’s a tremendous loss to his family, the city of Detroit and boxing,” Weber said. “Emanuel was a friend. He was incredibly kind to me. He was a pioneer as a boxing trainer in Detroit, a one of a kind. There won’t be another like him.”

Superstar Management Tribute to Emanuel Steward
Tribute to boxing icon, legend, client & friend Emanuel Steward at:

HBO has paid its respects to Detroit boxing icon Emanuel Steward, who died Thursday, October 25, 2012 with a moving farewell to a much-loved colleague.

With close friend and HBO boxing host Jim Lampley providing the voiceover, the four-minute tribute shows Steward training boxers and talking about his love, in particular, of amateur boxing, despite training more than 40 pro fighters to world championships throughout his career.

“From those of us at HBO who knew and loved Emanuel Steward, ringside will never be the same,” Lampley said.

Business Manager and friend Abdul-Jalil said “You were, are and always will be the BEST EVER!!! Even Ali will give you his title the “GOAT” Greatest of All Times! My heartfelt love to Marie, Sylvia, Sylvette, Anita, Diane and Lavern. I am truly honored to have had you all in my life with Manny!”

A memorial and funeral service will be held Nov. 13 in Detroit for the Kronk Gym legend. Steward worked as a boxing commentator with HBO for 11 years.

Steward, who eventually owned the gym, trained more than 50 world champions there and elsewhere, among them Julio César Chávez, a six-time world champion in three different weight classes; Oscar De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles in six classes; the former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks; and, most recently, Klitschko, the reigning heavyweight champion.

Among Steward’s crowning achievements as a trainer were Holyfield’s upset of Riddick Bowe to regain the world heavyweight title in 1993 and Lewis’s eighth-round knockout of Mike Tyson in 2002 for the heavyweight crown.

HBO’s Jim Lampley: Emanuel Steward ‘had dramatic effect on so many people’s lives’

HBO boxing host Jim Lampley remembers his on-air colleague Emanuel Steward “as the single-most color-blind person I ever knew.”

“So much of his life was spent training and helping young black kids,” said Lampley on the phone from San Diego on Monday. “But his best-known, most recent fighters are an Irishman and a Ukrainian. Imagine that? He never judged anybody by race, religion or politics.”

Lampley was referring to Steward’s tough middleweight contender Andy Lee, raised in Castleconnell in Limerick County, Ireland, and heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, who was born in Semey, Kazakhstan, of Ukrainian heritage. Both loved and respected Steward and owed much to him, Lampley said.

Steward — one of boxing’s best trainers and managers and the driving force behind Detroit’s Kronk Gym — died Thursday at age 68 in a Chicago-area hospital. Lampley, who has worked as a TV sports broadcaster for ABC, NBC and HBO, said he has been wearing his Kronk Boxing T-shirt since learning of Steward’s death.

“Emanuel was my best friend,” Lampley said of Steward, with whom he worked at HBO, beginning in 2001. “I expect there are 100 people like me who could say that. Manny had a dramatic effect on so many people’s lives. I can just imagine how Andy, Wladimir and his young boxers are feeling right now. I’m walking around my house in my Kronk colors.”

Lampley, who will fly to Detroit with the HBO boxing crew for Steward’s planned memorial service on Nov. 13 at Greater Grace Temple on 7 Mile in Detroit, likened Steward to a Charles Dickens hero.

“What a life he had,” said Lampley, 63, who first met Steward in 1981. “The places he traveled to, the friends he made, the boxers he trained. He was generous, charismatic, humble and open. He had incredible stamina, knowledge and humanity.”

Lampley last saw Steward on Aug. 4. “It was at my wedding in San Diego,” Lampley said. “His presence there was a gift from the universe to me.”

Lampley recalled watching Steward do pad work with Klitschko in Austria a couple of years ago just half an hour after Steward had arrived in the country from Detroit.

“Here he is taking punches from the hardest-hitting heavyweight in the world, and he’s 67 years old or so, and I think his arms are going to fall off,” Lampley said. “I asked him how he did it, and he replied, ‘Jim, I’ve never stopped. I couldn’t do it if I ever stopped.’ ”

Lampley asked Steward one time why he finished sparring sessions by offering his fighters slices of watermelon.

“Manny told me, ‘Because they only grow where people sweat,’ ” Lampley recalled.

On Friday, HBO asked Lampley to do the voice-over for a video tribute it produced on Steward, who trained more than 40 world champions including Kronk greats Tommy Hearns and Hilmer Kenty.

“It was emotionally challenging,” said Lampley, who teamed with Steward, Larry Merchant and Max Kellerman on HBO boxing. “It took me a half-dozen takes to finish off the final words. My voice was cracking and I was sobbing. But I finally finished it for my friend.”

Emanuel Steward’s Boxing Clinic

This video will give boxing enthusiasts inside knowledge, information and strategic winning insights from Legendary International Hall of Fame Boxing Manager and Trainer Emanuel Steward.

Over the past 30 years Steward, has trained/managed more than 50 World Champions, his work continues today. Presently Steward is Training World Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko. In addition to being a expert boxing analyst for HBO Boxing, Emanuel Steward Online Website gives Steward the opportunity to share his expert insights, knowledge, and opinions with the world.

He invited you to join his online community for access to the inside scoop. This site provided you with the ability to connect with Steward, in a way that only can be done on this site. The site includes live forum discussions, the ability to hear and see “The Emanuel Steward Show”, and get the inside scoop on major fights.

” The Man Who Turn$ Hit$ Into Million$”

Posted via email from Superstar Management


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