Emanuel Steward, one of the most successful boxing trainers of all-time and mainstay behind the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit, has died at the age of 68, his sister Diane Steward-Jones has confirmed.
Steward had recently undergone surgery for a stomach illness and had been forced to relinquish his role as chief trainer for Wladimir Klitschko’s upcoming world heavyweight title fight against Mariusz Wach. Steward’s family had gathered at his hospital bedside and Steward-Jones confirmed his passing at 2.46pm local time in Detroit, Michigan, (7.46pm UK time) in a call to the Detroit Free Press.
Steward-Jones told the newspaper: “He has passed – he’s gone home. He was in no pain and we sang to him as well, as did the doctors present. He had loved ones with him. He gave it his all, but he’s been called away now.”
Steward, who was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996, trained or was involved in the careers of more than 40 world champions, but first found fame with legendary Detroit fighter Thomas Hearns in the 1980s.
Hearns, who became Steward’s first professional fighter along with another Detroit native, Hilmer Kenty, in 1977, won his first world title in 1980 and went on to engage in a series of all-time classics with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler.
In later years, Steward went on to help shape the careers of Naseem Hamed and Lennox Lewis, among others, before turning his attention to the younger of the Klitschko brothers, whom he had always admired.