Boxing: Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward dead at 68

SINGAPORE, Singapore – Detroit boxing icon Emanuel “Manny” Steward passed away Thursday, October 25, after reportedly suffering from a serious stomach illness. 

He was 68.

Steward's absence from HBO boxing broadcasts in recent months was a telltale sign of the Hall-of-Fame trainer’s fading health.

Over his career, Steward was highly regarded as one of the sport’s best coaches, having trained the likes of knockout artist Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, one of the most dominant heavyweights of all time in Lennox Lewis, and the flashy and stylish “Prince” Naseem Hamed.

Steward was also responsible for the resurgence of Miguel Cotto and his victories over Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga. He put Cotto’s career back on track after noticeably improving upon the Puerto Rican’s defense.

Yet his most prized pupil, and arguably his best body of work, is reigning WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko.

PRIZED PUPIL. Emanuel Steward helped skyrocket Wladimir Klitschko's boxing career as his trainer. Photo from AFP.

PRIZED PUPIL. Emanuel Steward helped skyrocket Wladimir Klitschko's boxing career as his trainer. Photo from AFP.

Under the watchful eye of one of boxing’s chief masterminds, the skillful big man Ukranian was transformed from a raw, heavy puncher to a technical monster. Klitschko developed a piston-like jab that is near-invincible and a maturity in the ring that has led to his overwhelming dominance.

Steward also guided Klitschko through the later part of his career to an eight-year unbeaten win streak.


Just last week, Klitschko made the decision to replace Steward as his trainer, since the latter was too ill to continue training his ward. Steward reportedly approved his replacement, former heavyweight Johnathan Banks who was also formerly Klitschko’s sparmate.

Klitschko is currently training for a November 10 fight against Mariusz Wach in Hamburg, Germany, his 13th title defense.

As a fight commentator, Steward was known for providing intelligent and accurate analysis of fighter’s styles, providing fans with a scientific viewpoint.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Steward was suffering from colon cancer, which was denied by those close to him.  

Steward died in a Chicago hospital Thursday, although details of his death have yet to be disclosed. -