- Last Updated: 10:07 AM, October 26, 2012
- Posted: 2:31 AM, October 26, 2012
DETROIT — Emanuel Steward, the owner of the legendary Kronk Gym and a standout trainer for boxers including Thomas Hearns, Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya, died yesterday. He was 68.
Victoria Kirton, Steward’s executive assistant, said Steward died at a Chicago hospital. She did not disclose the cause of death.
Steward trained, helped train or managed some of the greatest fighters of the past 40 years out of the Kronk, a dingy, overheated basement gym that produced world champions like Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Lennox Lewis.
Steward was born in West Virginia and moved at the age of 12 to Detroit. In 1963, an 18-year old Steward, fighting as a bantamweight, won the national Golden Gloves tournament. According to a biography on his website, rather than go forward as a professional he went to work for the Detroit Edison Co. and in 1971 accepted a part-time position as head coach of the boxing program at the Kronk Recreation Center.
A dynasty was born. The Kronk’s first professional champion was Hilmer Kenty, a lightweight from Columbus, Ohio, who started training there in 1978 and won the WBA title two years later.
“He brought the very, very best out of me,” Hearns once said of Steward, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.Follow @NYPostsports