Emanuel Steward, legendary trainer of Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, dies aged 68
Steward’s name has been long associated with the Kronk gym in Detroit, where his fighters trained in sweltering heat and as hard as if they were in fights. Steward, who would dance on his feet showing fighters moves, to this day, showed a perspicacity inside and outside the ropes.
He had won 94 of 97 fights as an amateur and was the US bantamweight champion in 1963. In the seventies, he started the Kronk sweat house.
Steward’s first world champion, in 1980, was Hilmer Kenty, the first world champion the motor city had celebrated since the great Joe Louis – and that success was followed quickly in the same year by the then ferocious welterweight Hearns.
Steward was instrumental in helping the welterweight super-fight between Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard come together in 1981. “It was simple. We met in an airport, it was done in an hour,” he told me last year. Hearns also went on to have one of the most exciting fights in history, against Marvin Hagler.
Steward would go on to become trainer, mentor and in is latter years, a guru to a total of 43 world champions. Steward talked a lot, he talked to everyone – journalists, boxers, fighters, managers – and he talked sense. He had enjoyed an analyst’s ringside role on television for over two decades in the United States.