The historic Kronk Gym in Detroit, belonging to famous trainer Emanuel Steward was shut down abruptly Friday at the request of his sister, Diane Steward-Jones, the day after passing away from a stomach ailment in a Chicago hospital. He was 68.
Steward-Jones, who is the family spokesperson, called workers to start removing items from the world-renowned gym. One of the first items to be taken down was the red and gold Kronk Gym sign hanging outside the building, but also included gym posters hanging on the walls and historic fight photos.
Steward-Jones’ reasoning for closing the gym was because she wanted to “to safeguard the legacy” of late brother and felt there were people who worked and trained at the gym that could not be trusted.
“There are people in the gym, scavengers, who would try and take everything out of my brother’s gym,” said Steward-Jones, who oversaw part of the removal after returning from Chicago early Friday. “I’ve alerted the police. People are not going to rape and ravage that place. There will be nothing left. The ring is even being removed.”
Steward-Jones also spoke of an incident when Steward owned a restaurant in downtown Detroit and it was burglarized after being closed.
“They broke in and took out sides of beef, vegetables and fruit,” she said. “That’s not going to happen here.”
Steward-Jones is contemplating locking up the gym, which would leave dozens of fights who train at the facility looking for a new location to work out. She is prepared to go to battle if she deems it to be necessary.
“They’ll have to find somewhere else to go for a week, I don’t know,” said Steward-Jones, who handled much of her brother’s business and public relations matters. “I’ve still got my ass-kicking boots on. Emanuel was counting on me to protect his stuff from less than honest people and I’m going to do it.”
Steward was honest and well-regarded in the boxing realm, working with more than two dozen champions during his career including Evander Holyfield, Thomas Hearns and Oscar de la Hoya.
The first Kronk Gym, which closed in 2006, was located on McGraw Street in Detroit before being moved to 19239 West Warren due to budget cuts in the city.
The gym has operated on a month to month basis through Steward and gifts from private donors.
What the future may have in store for Kronk Gym and Kronk Boxing is yet to be seen with the passing of Steward.