Kronk Boxing Gym in Detroit headed by legendary boxing trainer Emanuel Steward-2024

By:Dr.Adal M.Hussain,Phd (AKA) Dr. Abbey ,Editor @ Large for World Liberty TV

Kronk Gym is a boxing gym located in Detroit, once led by trainer Emanuel Steward.

It was run out of the basement of the oldest recreation center of the City of Detroit, and became a household word in the sport of boxing and its gold shorts a magnet to young talent following the enormous success and high profile of multiple World Champion and Boxing Hall of Famer Thomas “The Hitman” Hearn’s in the 1980s.

Dr Abbey With Brett Heflin Exec Dir ESCOT

Named after Detroit City Councilman John Kronk, the training facility opened in 1921. The original site closed in 2006, but it reopened in 2015.

Kronk began to earn fame during the late 1970s, when prospects like Hilmer Kenty, Thomas Hearns and Mickey Goodwin trained there. In 1980, Kenty became Kronk’s first world champion, Hearns following him months after.

Emanuel Steward July 7, 1944 – October 25, 2012

In 1983, Kronk fighter Milton McCrory won the WBC welterweight title vacated by Sugar Ray Leonard; Jimmy Paul beat Harry Arroyo for the International Boxing Federation’s world lightweight title in 1985.

Duane Thomas, another Kronk fighter, beat John Mugabi for the WBC light middleweight title in 1986. McCrory’s brother, Steve McCrory, was also a world champion who as an amateur won the flyweight gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

ESCOT Named after Emanuel Steward

In 1984 four Kronk team members of various weight classes were ranked world’s top ten by AIBA: Steve McCrory #1 at 112 lbs, Mark Breland #1 at 147 lbs, Frank Tate #5 at 156 lbs, and Ricky Womack #3 at 178 lbs.

In the 1990s the Kronk stable included two-time WBA welterweight champion Mark Breland, top amateur prospect and future contender Tarick Salmaci, and repeat welterweight contender Oba Carr.

Dr Abbey in Kronk Boxing Ring

Among the many world champions who trained at Kronk at least once during their careers are Michael Moorer, Wilfred Benítez (in the Tucson gym), Héctor Camacho, Julio César Chávez, Naseem Hamed, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Jermain Taylor and Tyson Fury.

Hilmer Kenty Kronks 1st World Champion

In September 2006, the original gym at 5555 McGraw Avenue between 33rd and Junction Streets in Detroit closed temporarily after thieves stole copper water pipes, cutting off supply to the building.

Dr.Abbey with Golden Boy Promoter Oscar De La Hoya Trained by Emanuel Steward

Boxers relocated to a Dearborn Gold’s Gym. A “Save the Kronk” campaign aimed at keeping the facilities from closing due to budget shortfall was spearheaded by Emanuel Steward. The campaign would ultimately work toward building a new Kronk.

Dr.Abbey with Lennox Lewis Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Trained by Emanuel Steward

The gym and recreation center was officially closed by the Recreation Department on November 28, 2006 due to the prohibitive cost of repairs to the plumbing and building infrastructure.

In the past few years, the Detroit gym relocated to a new facility in a storefront on West Warren Avenue.

Dr Abbey Posing next to heavy bag

On October 7, 2017, the original Kronk Gym went up in flames in a suspicious fire. The roof was destroyed and the basement gym was heavily damaged.

KRONK’s legendary Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward, had over 41 world champions to his credit – more than any other trainer in the history of boxing.

Kronk Boxing Gloves

His other legacy of helping youth to become CHAMPIONS in life now lives on through ESCOT, Emanuel Steward Champions of Tomorrow, founded by Jeff Styers and powered by KRONK. ESCOT staff, volunteers, and KRONK coaches continue to help kids fight for their future.

I knew Emanuel Stewart, very well interviewed him many times and spoke and associated with him on many occasions, he was a brilliant man, kind generous anything you needed to know about the boxers, he will tell you as it was, no diplomacy.

KRONK Gym Rules

He also would take time, to speak with you, he spoke to me about me about my Humanitarian organization, and the work we were doing for our community. As he was doing so much for the youths of Detroit, by getting them off the streets and getting them involved in boxing.

I truly loved Emanuel as a human being and a great soul he was, I learned so much from him in the 10 years I remember him, may God rest his soul, there will never be another Emanuel, in my opinion the greatest boxing Trainer ever, a gentleman and a great humanitarian.

Kronk Youths doing different activities

I was in Detroit for the first time in May 2024 and the first thing I did was, to go to the new Kronk Boxing Gym, the new one, where I had the pleasure of meeting Brett Heflin, Executive Director of Emanuel Steward Champions of Tomorrow, (ESCOT).

When I arrived Mr. Heflin, was very impressed that I attended, the gym and I told him my relationship, with Emanuel throughout the years. He was very gracious to drop everything and took me on the tour of the Gym. I saw the original boxing ring where great champions, like Thomas Hearn’s, Milton MCcory and and many other great champions who trained there.

Legendary Heavyweight Great Joe Louis regular fixture at Kronk Gym

I saw pics of all the 41 world Champions, Emanuel trained, vintage boxing gloves, which I had the pleasure of wearing and doing a little shadow boxing in the boxing ring.

There were many speed balls, Boxing Bags weight room and so much more. Mr. Heflin, also showed us different rooms, where kids were doing all kind of activities, he went on to say, we want to get kids involved in boxing and different activities.

L-R Emanuel with Jim Lampley & Larry Merchant HBO Boxing Commentary team

The City has gave the building and is rented to ESCOT, money is tough. Mr Heflin went on to say, we like to have more people contribute so we can keep our programs going and help many youths as possible.

I might a contribution, to the cause, also got a nice tee-shirt as a sovereign, in memory of my dear friend Emanuel.  In the very beginning… Emanuel Steward, the legendary hall of fame boxing coach began training young boys from the streets of Detroit who wanted to box. It all started at the KRONK Recreation Center basement and through the years, more world champions were discovered, coached, nurtured and trained there than any other gym in the world. The names you know, the ones that grace the website, were all products of Emanuel Steward’s coaching genius.

Many Boxers Trained at Kronk Boxing Gym

​But there’s more to the story. While the champions you know became winners in the ring, many others, thanks to Emanuel, got their start in life because of his caring. Emanuel Steward may be famous for creating champions, but for those who knew him and for the city of Detroit, he was also known for generously helping kids in need who came to the gym.

​Today, Emanuel’s giving spirit has been memorialized into a youth development program that bears his name: ESCOT Emanuel Steward Champions of Tomorrow. The program teaches kids how to be champions both in the ring and in life. It was founded by Jeff Styers who after partnering with Emanuel Steward’s daughter Sylvia Steward-Williams transformed his own youth development program, Norwayne Boxing Gym into ESCOT.

Train Fight Win & Repeat

Jeff, a former professional boxer himself, didn’t train under Emanuel but knew and respected him. To this day he cherishes a letter of encouragement he received during his fighting days. When the opportunity came to bring the brand power of KRONK, the spirit of Emanuel Steward and the successful Norwayne Boxing Gym program together for the benefit of the kids of metro Detroit once again, it seemed a natural. It seemed like destiny, and it was.

If you are a boxing fan or an person who wants help youths, you can purchase the merchandise which will help with the cause. By clicking here.

Dr.Abbey with Legendary Boxing trainer Emanuel Steward of The Kronk Gym

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