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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” Hearns in the 1980s.
The training facility opened shortly after World War I (~1920) and closed in 2006. It reopened in 2015.
Original Detroit gym
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. In 1983, Kronk fighter Milton McCrory won the WBC's world 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's world Jr. 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 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In 1984 four Kronk team members of various weight classes were ranked world's Top 10 by the 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.
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.
Kronk opened a second gym in Tucson, Arizona during the 1990s. A new host of fighters who would later become world champions arrived there, including Gerald McClellan. The Kronk "franchise" began to sell Kronk merchandise through catalog sales.
In 1998 Kronk opened Kronk Gym website, promoting the gyms and their fighters.
Detroit gym closure
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. 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.
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.
On Saturday, 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.
Proposed new Detroit gym
The abandoned Kronk Gym in Detroit may see new life under a proposal to renovate the battered two-story building and revive the area around it. The effort was again being spearheaded by Emanuel Steward, the gym's legendary trainer. However, after Steward's October 2012 death the future of Kronk Gym grew more uncertain, compounded by Steward's sister, Diane Steward-Jones, removing everything related to Steward from the gym just a day after his death to prevent thefts of valuable memorabilia and “safeguard the legacy” of Steward and of the gym.
Former multiple world champ and Kronk Gym icon Thomas Hearns stated: “I don't know when and if we'll be open here again. I hope something good will happen.”
The new facility opened on Memorial Day weekend 2015 at 9520 Mettetal St.
- FOX (2012-10-25). "Legendary boxing trainer Steward dies". Foxsports.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
- Tom Timmermann (2011-01-28). "Detroit's Kronk Gym was a cradle of boxing champions". STLToday.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05.
- Brudenell, Mike (20 May 2015). "Kronk Gym scheduled to reopen Monday". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- AIBA rankings 1984, CLIPPED FROM Detroit Free Press, 14 Feb 1984, Tue, page 42
- "City of Detroit | Detroit Free Press". freep.com. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "World Famous Kronk Gym Destroyed in Suspicious Fire; Motor City Muckraker". motorcitymuckraker.com. 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
- FOX. "FOX 2 Detroit News, Weather, Sports | WJBK". Myfoxdetroit.com. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Kronkgym.com official website.
- Inside the abandoned Kronk Gym at Detroiturbex.com
- Detroit's Legendary Kronk Gym: Down for the Count
- Boxing's Most Famous Gyms 1980 Manny Steward kronk gym held the 15 years and younger Silver gloves jr Olympics,Micky Goodwyn,Milton Mccrory,Hilmer Kentay,And Duane Johnson All world champions helped host the event. Roosevelt McKinley trainer with AnnArbor /
YPsilanti boxing club, and close friend of Mannny Steward Had three State champions crowned FROM the university of Michigan Club,Derrick Mcguire 100 lbs champ WD3,who also was later a pro fighter,Ted Edward's 106 lbs champion WD3,And Joel Dockett Bantamweight 119 lb champ WKO/R2 Dockett and McGuire were 14 yrs old the two youngest In there weight classes to win titles also sparring partners. Bosa Edward's Sparred with the pair earlier in the month, McKinley The First Tough man contest Champion and Steward went on to have the world heavyweight championship fight In opposing corners, McKinley in Iron Mike Tysons Corner And Steward with World champion Lennox Lewis. Reported by AP.1980-2015.