“So his selflessness—that’s what I’ll remember most is his selflessness. I remember that most, and he always made us feel like we were something, and we always wanted to impress him as kids.”—Tarick Salmaci
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Six of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an remarkable individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply extraordinary. In this installment, former Kronk fighter Tarick Salmaci shares his views and some of his unique experiences growing up in the Kronk Gym throughout his childhood. Here is a complete transcript of my discussion with Tarick:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Tarick, it was a big loss for the boxing world, especially the Kronk community, when we lost an exceptional individual when Emanuel Steward passed away. As someone who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, what are your personal views on his personal impact on the world of boxing?
TARICK SALMACI: Good question. I think he’ll always be a part of boxing. He’s part of the game. He’ll always be part of the game. He helped make boxing what it is as far as training world champions, being involved in all these mega fights he was involved in throughout the 70s, 80s, 90s, and current. It’s just when it comes to boxing he’s a legend. That’s a given right there.
CIANI: Can you tell the fans out there a little bit about what it was like the first time that you worked with Emanuel?
SALMACI: Let me start by saying that Emanuel, I mean I first met him when I was 11 years old. So I kind of grew up around Emanuel, and from the first time meeting him as a kid he always made you feel important. You know what I mean? That’s one thing he always did, and I noticed that as a kid. He made us feel important, and we always tried to impress him. I mean we were like 11 and 12 years old, here we are, kids from the ghetto, and this man would take us. We were young kids! And with Emanuel this was like the 80s. So he was already on top of his game. He would pick us up and take us to the most expensive restaurant in Detroit. There was a steakhouse called “Carl’s Chop House”, and he’d take about 14 or 15 of us there randomly. Every month, every couple of months, he would take us all there to experience something we never experienced before. Continue reading
The Legacy of Emanuel Steward Part 5: Exclusive Interview with Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko
“Believe it or not, the monster has been created and Emanuel is with me. Even if he is not there he is with me. He is whispering in my ear as soon as I’m getting in the gym.”—Wladimir Klitschko
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Five of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply remarkable. In this installment, I had the privilege of speaking with the Heavyweight Champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs), who is coming off of a lopsided unanimous decision victory when he successfully defended his crown against Mariusz Wach (27-1, 15 KOs) last Saturday night. This was Klitschko’s first bout without Steward since the two first paired up more than eight years ago. Wladimir provided his views and unique insight, and also shared some of his experiences working together with the Hall of Fame trainer. Here is what Wladimir had to say:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Wladimir, first of all I want to congratulate you on another outstanding victory this past weekend. I got to say I’m surprised that Wach was able to stand up to your shots for twelve rounds. How do you feel about your performance?
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO: I should say that Wach showed a big heart, with no doubt. He had to absorb really bad punishment in the ring, because I know those shots were not easy to take. I felt my knuckles almost on every shot, and this man was like made out of rock. He took a lot of punishment. So I have a lot of respect for him for keeping on going, and especially in the eighth round when the referee almost stopped the fight and his corner let him go the next round. So I was really impressed with that performance, but it was another title defense and that’s basically it.
CIANI: Now I know this must have been difficult for you on some level, being your first fight without Emanuel Steward since you two first joined forces. For you, how was it dealing with that scenario for the first time without Emanuel for your preparations and for the fight itself?
KLITSCHKO: I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining with how difficult it was. You can imagine it was not easy to all of us, to the entire team, to get to know one week and a half before the fight that Emanuel passed away. It was something that really affected the entire team, and we’re still actually affected by that. We miss Emanuel! I mean everything in the training camp and everything related to boxing, in my life in boxing, is Emanuel Steward. I am Emanuel Steward in a certain way, because he shaped the size of my character and my presence in this world as I am, through Emanuel. And I feel this before when I worked with Emanuel. I finally could see Lennox Lewis, because Lennox Lewis is also Emanuel Steward. He’s a part of Emanuel Steward, and Tommy Hearns and everyone else. It’s just something that is difficult to describe with words how much we miss him and how much it hurt us. Continue reading
“So he was not just only a manager, a trainer, a commentator. He was a good man. He was a man that would give you the shirt off his back, and that’s what I will remember about Emanuel Steward.”—Cornelius Bundrage
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Four of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of an extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the world of boxing are simply remarkable. In this installment, reigning IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius ‘K9’ Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with ‘K9’ Bundrage:
GEOFFREY CIANI: K9, it was a big loss for the boxing world when Emanuel Steward passed away. As a fighter who had the opportunity to work with Emanuel, can you give us your views on his impact on boxing?
CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE: Wow! You know I don’t know if boxing, as far as the knowledge that Emanuel Steward had in boxing, I don’t know if we’re going to run across a guy like that again. I mean how many guys do you know that came across fighters Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and still have world champions to this day, that knew what he was talking about? I mean I believe he helped Jim Lampley and all of them to know more about boxing, because he was actually a boxer himself. I mean he’s going to be missed by not only just the people in Detroit and the people in boxing, but he’s going to be missed by a lot of people. Emanuel Steward was feeding a lot of people. What people don’t realize or know is he was taking care of a lot of fighters. He once had a house where there were like a lot of fighters who stayed there, and it was fighters from all around the world. It wasn’t just the fighters from the city. You even know Andy Lee stayed in one of his houses, and Andy Lee is from Ireland. But he had a training camp house where I was actually in. It was Johnathon Banks, it was me, and it was another local fighter named John Jackson. He had a whole camp or so. You know there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be really affected by Emanuel Steward leaving, because like I said he was looking out for a lot of people. There were guys at the gym who I know personally that used to go to his house and get a check every week. They’re going to be greatly affected. So you know Emanuel was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He was a real cool guy, definitely a cool guy, and he knew the sport of boxing. He didn’t act like he was too good for anybody, and he was out there. You know people knew who he was all over the world, and he always gave you the time if he had it, and he didn’t treat you like you were a nobody. Even if you were nobody, he treated like you were somebody. That was Emanuel Steward right there. He was like the Michael Jackson of boxing. Or should we say the James Brown of boxing, the Godfather. Continue reading
Written by Damian McCann (former Secretary of Belfast Kronk Gym, Ireland)
Legendary boxing icon, Emanuel Steward’s memorial service took place today at the Greater Grace Temple, Detroit. Family, friends and members the boxing fraternity including Thomas Hearns, Hilmer Kenty, Waldimir Klitschko, Roy Jones Jr. Lennox Lewis, Andy Lee, Evander Holyfield, Sugar Leonard and Michael Moorer arrive to pay tribute and their last farewell to Emanuel. Around the world boxing fans will pause to remember not only a boxing superstar but also a prince amongst men.
During his lifetime Emanuel amassed a vast wealth of experience and knowledge of the sweet science. He had many roles in the sport as a commentator, manager and promoter, but it will be as a trainer that he will be most remembered in the history of boxing.
As an amateur star he compiled a distinguished record of 97 fights with only 3 losses including winning the 1963 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Championship in Chicago. He was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the International Hall of Fame in New York in 1996 in recognition of his achievements and contribution to boxing. Continue reading
“I’m proud to say I knew the man. I’m honored to say I had a personal communication and I’m fortunate to be able to say that I got to see him work.”—Naazim Richardson
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani – This is Part Three of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of a remarkable individual, Emanuel Steward, whose extraordinary contributions to the boxing world spanned sixty years. In this installment, trainer Naazim Richardson provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with Naazim:
GEOFFREY CIANI: Naazim, it was a sad day for boxing and we lost one of our greatest ambassadors in the sport when Emanuel Steward passed away nearly two weeks ago. I’m wondering if you could share your personal views on the impact that Emanuel had on boxing?
NAAZIM RICHARDSON: Well like you said, Emanuel was a great ambassador for the sport and a very intricate part of the sport as we know it in the last few years, and he touched on all facets of it in that he was, you know a commentator, trainer, manager, promoter. He was just in every detail of the sport, and like I’ve said, it’s a great loss but it’s one of those situations where we lose, but in a sense there’s a piece of Emanuel that’s going to exist forever in the sport from when he sat down and what he let the world share from the Kronk’s Gym on to when he was analyzing the fights as a commentator. So he’ll be with us as long as the sport is around.
CIANI: One of the things I remember that Emanuel said about you once, it was when he was still training Chad Dawson and he was looking forward to the challenge of going up against you, and Bernard, and all of the great boxing minds from your corner. He actually said it reminded him of when he was training Evander Holyfield and he had to go up against the old school corner led by Eddie Futch. One of the things Naazim, you’re known as a great preparer of your fighters, and I’m wondering if you could tell the fans out there how you gauge Emanuel when it came to preparing his fighters to give them their best chance at victory? Continue reading
“I mean in 1981 as a kid I was reading about Emanuel in a magazine and watching that big fight, and then years later whatever it was, here he was working my corner in the gym”—Iceman John Scully
Exclusive Interview by Geoffrey Ciani: – This is Part Two of an ongoing series dedicated to the memory and legacy of one extraordinary individual, Emanuel Steward, whose contributions to the sport he loved are simply immense. In this installment, trainer Iceman John Scully provided his perspective and shared some of his experiences with the legendary Hall of Fame trainer. Here is a complete transcript from my discussion with Iceman Scully:
GEOFFREY CIANI: John, a week and a half ago was a very sad day for the boxing world, and we lost a remarkable individual when Emanuel Steward passed away. As a trainer, a commentator, and an overall ambassador for the sport of boxing, when you think of Emanuel Steward what do you think of his impact on the sport and his legacy?
JOHN SCULLY: I mean I’ll tell you when I first started boxing, when I first started getting involved in boxing as a fan as a kid, he was one of the premiere trainers at the time. It was the late 70s and in the early 80s. So he had Hilmer Kenty and Tommy Hearns at that time, and the Hearns-Leonard fight was a huge part of my youth in boxing. So I’ve obviously been very, very aware of Emanuel since that time, and what’s funny is it just dawned on me the other day. After he passed away and I read one of his obituaries, it dawned on me one of his amazing feats is that when Leonard and Hearns fought the first time, Emanuel was only in like his mid 30s at the time as his trainer. He was training the beast that was Tommy Hearns in that huge fight, the trainer was only I think 37 or whatever he was at the time. I think he was 37. So putting that in perspective, I mean that’s pretty amazing in itself what he was able to accomplish at such a young age. Continue reading
By Joseph Herron – On Thursday afternoon, October 27 th , the boxing world learned the tragic news of the untimely passing of boxing legend Emanuel Steward.
While every boxing pundit felt the loss of the all time great fight trainer, maybe none more profoundly than expert trainer Ronnie Shields. The lifelong boxing proponent initially met Emanuel when he was competing as an amateur boxer at age 13.
After their early encounter, the mutual friendship grew over several decades and was based on a genuine fondness and deep rooted respect for each other.
Ronnie shared his personal feelings on the air during Sunday night’s episode of “The Pugilist KOrner’s: Weekend Wrap”.
“Thursday was probably one of the worst days I’ve ever experienced in my entire life,” admits expert trainer Ronnie Shields.
By James Slater: The tributes have been coming in thick and fast ever since the tragic, sad news broke of boxing guru Emanuel Steward’s untimely passing at the premature age of 68. Having so much more to give his sport, with so much further wisdom ready to be shared with his star pupils, Emanuel, we all thought, would be around for years and years to come.
The top scribes of boxing have each composed heartfelt tributes to Emanuel – a man they have all correctly written was a genius who had such an easygoing way about him he was able to make everyone who interacted with him feel like a friend – and what more can be said of the man who lived and breathed boxing?
I was fortunate enough to have been able to speak with the great Emanuel Steward on a couple of occasions, and here are some of the hugely interesting things he was kind enough to share with me: –
Emanuel on the best fighters he ever worked with: Continue reading
Blog Talk Radio’s, “The Pugilist KOrner’s: Weekend Wrap” is proud to present a special tribute to one of the all-time greatest trainers and advocates of the sport, Emanuel Steward, tonight at 9:00 PM EST.
Pugilist KOrner listener line: 718-506-1506
On tonight’s broadcast, we will be speaking with former International Boxing Federation (IBF) Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd about the legendary “Trainer of Champions”. “Rapid Fire” will talk about Emanuel’s impact on the fight game and his legacy. Continue reading
(July 7, 1944 to October 25, 2012)
Written by Damian McCann
Legendary boxing icon, Emanuel Steward passed away peacefully with his loving family present last Thursday at the age of 68.
During his lifetime he amassed a vast wealth of experience and knowledge of the sweet science. He had many roles in the sport as a commentator, manager and promoter, but it will be as a trainer that he will be most remembered in the history of boxing.
As an amateur star he compiled a distinguished record of 97 fights with only 3 losses including winning the 1963 National Golden Gloves Bantamweight Championship in Chicago. He was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Los Angeles and the International Hall of Fame in New York in 1996 in recognition of his achievements and contribution to boxing.
But he also leaves a legacy as one of the most respected and loved people in the sport; boxing fans around the world loved him and he loved them. No matter how busy or gruelling a schedule he had he always had time for a handshake, a photograph and a conversation. Continue reading