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Steward turned Hearns and others into legends, then became one himself

"For the next generation"

One of the most-celebrated trainers in history,
Emanuel Steward laments that his craft isn't being passed on
to up-and-coming cornermen ... and he's doing something about it.
By Gordon Marino
The Boxing Amusement Park

Emanuel Steward is one of the most renowned trainers in boxing history. A few years after compiling a 94-3 record as an amateur and winning the National Golden Gloves title in 1963,  he began training fighters at the Kronk Gym in Detroit. He had unprecedented success first with amateurs and then professionals. In the 70’s and 80’s Steward’s work established the Kronk as one the greatest boxing gyms in history. Over time, Emanuel has coached a roster of world champions, including Tommy Hearns, Oscar De La Hoya, and Lennox Lewis. Today, Wladimir Klitschko,  Miguel Cotto, Andy Lee  and Tommy Zbikowski are a few of the fighters who continue to study with the man who has become the dean of American martial arts. 


A few years back Emanuel confided that he was saddened by the fact that trainers were no longer teaching their art and acting as mentors to the next generation of cornermen. In an effort to make sure that advanced knowledge of the sweet science was being passed on, he began directing a series of clinics for aspiring trainers. There is no one who can explain both the basics and fine points of the bruising art better than Emanuel. For anyone interested in attending one of his upcoming clinics go to

www.emanuelstewardonline.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @www.twitter.com/Emanuelsteward


I am honored to say that I have sat for a few lessons from Mr. Steward. Here are some of my notes:



  1. A good deal of what Emanuel teaches involves breaking your opponents rhythm. For example, let’s suppose you are moving left as you are boxing. As soon as you see your opponent set to punch, move right. It takes a great fighter to go seamlessly between offense and defense. If you study your foe carefully enough – and this means staying calm- you will be able to see when they are about to attack. When your opponent is setting to punch simply change direction.
    2.   If you want to throw another wrench in your rival’s timing do this - after you throw a combination, finish with a jab. There is always a little pause after a combo. Fill it with a jab and then move to the side.
    3.   The left hook counter to your opponent’s right is a potent punch
    but the best way to deliver it is to retreat a half step when the
    other guy launches his right and throw your hook as you are sliding back. The hook should land at the same time that your right foot is landing. Make sure to keep your right up as you make this move. When you are throwing the hook and uppercut lock your arm. Emanuel swears that this will amplify the power of the punch.
    4.Always come in behind the jab and when you are jabbing make sure
    that you don’t get too much weight on your front foot. Balance is of
    supreme importance and if you are leaning forward you will not be able
    to slip shots or to punch effectively. This is something he has worked
    on a great deal with Miguel Cotto.


  3. 5. One of my best fighters has shown himself to be vulnerable to uppercuts. Emanuel told me, “The problem is he is squaring up.” And he was on the mark with that point. But Emanuel went on to suggest that I have one of his sparring partners throw hundreds of jab-uppercut combos at my guy until he can see the uppercut developing.


Gordon Marino

Other articles by Gordon Marino

Vitali Klitschko pounds out an argument for boxing reform

The elemental feelings of anger and fear

Training tips from Angelo Dundee: Everything works off the jab

Training tips from Bernard Hopkins: Improving your speed

Training tips from Mike Tyson: A devastating cocktail of punches


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Gordon Marino | The Ringside Boxing Show

A former boxer, Gordon Marino
was head boxing coach
at Virginia Military Institute
and now runs a boxing program
in Northfield, Minn.,
where he teaches philosophy
at St. Olaf College.
He also writes about boxing
for the Wall Street Journal.

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