Boxing Trainer Emanuel Steward Dead At 68
Emanuel Steward, a Hall of Fame trainer and iconic figure in Detroit who put his hometown on the boxing map by turning out some of the greatest fighters the sport has seen, died Thursday in a Chicago area hospital.
He was 68.
Steward had been suffering from diverticulitis, but there were various reports that he had stage 4 colon cancer as well. He has been hospitalized since September and underwent surgery recently for diverticulitis, a stomach disorder, according to his sister, Diane Steward-Jones.
Steward-Jones, who handled business and public relations for Steward, told the Detroit Free Press she and several family members were by his side.
“He has passed – he’s gone home,” Steward-Jones told the Free Press by phone. “He was in no pain, and we sang to him, as well as did the doctors present. He had loved ones around him.”
Steward-Jones said even toward the end her brother tried to recruit male nurses and other medical staff to box for him. “They loved him,” Steward-Jones said. “He’d tell them to lose some weight and fight for him.”
Steward was a fighter himself in his early years, compiled a 96-3 amateur record, and was the 1963 Golden Gloves bantamweight champion. But it was as a teacher of boxing where he made his mark, and what eventually got him elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.
Steward, who for the last 11 years had been a boxing analyst for HBO, was the cornerman for such great Detroit-area fighters as 1980s-era champions Thomas Hearns, Hilmer Kenty and Milton McCrory. He later trained heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and was the trainer for current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko up until his death.