October 27, 2012
In all sports it is the athletes and sportsmen who usually get all the credit for successes in their careers. However even the great champions need the help of a top coach to reach their full potential. In the world of boxing, one of the greatest coaches of all time was Emanuel Steward who died on Thursday October 26, 2012 after losing his fight against cancer.
Steward first came to prominence as a trainer at the Kronk gym in Detroit in 1980, when Hilmer Kenty won his first world crown. Shortly afterwards the legendary boxer Thomas Hearns won his first world title under Steward’s coaching. This was the first of six world titles that Hearns won in his career, but more was to follow.
Over the next thirty years, Steward would work with a total of 43 boxing world champions. This is more than any other trainer in the history of the professional fight game. Some of the other great names that fought and trained under Steward include Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko and Oscar de la Hoya. He was still working with Klitschko when he fell ill.
Steward first learnt to box in the Brewster Recreation Center in Detroit. This was the same gym used by Joe Louis and Eddie Futch. His record as an amateur was impressive, winning 94 fights and losing only three. In 1963, he was the winner of the Golden Gloves tournament as a bantamweight.
He took a job as an electrician to pay the bills, but in 1971 started training his half-brother in the Kronk gym. He soon became a part-time coach there and worked with many of the top amateur fighters of that time. After several years with the amateurs he started working with professionals with great success.
Steward was a great supporter of young people in Detroit, and was well known in that area for helping disadvantaged young people to get an education.
As well as being one of the best trainers in the world, Steward was also employed as a boxing commentator on HBO Sports for over 20 years. His knowledge and experience was invaluable at any of the fights where he was in the commentary team.
Emanuel Steward was one of the best trainers the boxing world will ever see. His status was such that a number of world champions asked him to help when they needed help in their career. They have left him with a legacy and reputation in the sport that will last for a long time.