Hall of Fame boxing trainer Emmanuel Steward dead at 68
Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, known for honing the skills of five-division titlist Thomas Hearns and heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, passed away Thursday in a Chicago area hospital. He was 68.
According to his sister Diane Steward-Jones, the trainer had been suffering from diverticulitis, a stomach disorder, but there were various reports that he had stage 4 colon cancer as well.
“He has passed – he’s gone home,” Steward-Jones told the Detroit Free Press. “He was in no pain, and we sang to him, as well as did the doctors present. He had loved ones around him.”
Despite being his sick bed, Steward had shown his love for boxing by trying to recruit male nurses and other medical staff to fight. “They loved him,” Steward-Jones said. “He’d tell them to lose some weight and fight for him.”
Steward made his as a trainer at the Kronk gym in Detroit and Hilmer Kenty became his first world champion in 1980, followed by Hearns the same year. He later trained heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who has been promoting boxing for nearly 50 years, said Steward will be sorely missed by the boxing community.
“We are all grieving the passing of our friend Emanuel Steward. His founding and leadership of the Kronk Gym in Detroit was outstanding,” Arum said. “His efforts produced many world class fighters and champions including Tommy Hearns, Milt McCrory, Michael Moorer and many more. “
“Emanuel Steward always stood for the best that boxing could offer. He will be missed by all of us,” Arum added.
Before his death, he worked as a highly respected boxing analyst for HBO, with partners Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant and Max Kellerman since 2001.
“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,” HBO President Ken Hershman said in a statement. “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,” Hershman said.
Steward was born in West Virginia and moved to Detroit at age 12. He was well known for his charity work in Detroit with the Kronk Gym Foundation, which helped kids in need get training and an education.
“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,” Frank Garza, a leading Michigan boxing referee and close friend of Steward said.
As an amateur boxer, Steward won 94 of his 97 fights and a National Golden Gloves bantamweight title in 1963.