Hearns Still Showcasing for Famed Kronk GymJune 9, 2012
Detroit has Long and Storied Boxing Pedigree
DETROIT-- Famed Boxing trainer Emmanuel Steward and champion boxer Tommy Hearns met with me recently to help celebrate the “Hitman’s” induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Hearns was also helping to showcase two exciting fighters emerging from the famed Kronk Gym now on West Warren Avenue.
Hearns went on to say how much Emmanuel has meant to him over the years. “Not only did he teach me to be a champion but he taught me how to be a man,” said the retired boxer. “He gave me gifts that I have used for my whole life,” added Hearns. Former boxing promoter Bill Kozerski was mentioned as his name came up in the conversations regarding Hearns. “He helped me get on the map,” added Hearns.
There was lot of reminiscing about the Detroit Recreation Athletic Office on Wreford Avenue near the Northwestern baseball diamonds. Also the Golden Gloves championship won in Hawaii in 1977 by Hearns and the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in Detroit that Steward and I were a part of. That was when we all got a real close look at the hand speed of Sugar Ray Leonard.
Andy Lee and K-9 are Other Champs Coming Out of Kronk
The Irish sensation Andy Lee will be fighting Saturday, June 16, in El Paso, Texas as a headliner. Lee has been doing his sprint roadwork at the Detroit Redford High School track and says he is ready. He will take on Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. in a World Middleweight championship match at the Sun Bowl. Top Rank is promoting the event and Chavez is wildly popular in his nearby native Mexico. His father was probably Mexico’s greatest fighter.
Lee said, “I can’t let him get inside, he is a devastating puncher. I want to control the pace. I have to box intelligent and control his jab. My goal is to be smooth and I want to get an early lead. My mates for sparring have helped me. I am indebted to Edwin Rodriguez, Brian Vera and Donovan George for helping me get ready.” Steward has Lee on the famous Kronk ‘fish and watermelon’ diet to make the 160 pound weight limit.
Lee, a Limerick native son followed his older brothers into the ring. “Tommy and Ned, my two older brothers were boxers and my role models. We trained at the old Repton Gym and at the St. Francis Boxing Club. Damian McCann got me hooked up with Emmanuel at the Kronk Belfast satellite gym,” added Lee.
Another Kronk sensation will be fighting on the Golden Boy Productions card in a June 30, rematch at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Cornelius “K9” Bundrage defeated IBF Jr. Middleweight Champion, Corey Spinks, in Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis. Spinks is the son of former Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks. At one time, Steward trained the senior Spinks at the old Kronk gym on McGraw Avenue.
One of K-9’s corner men, Keith Lee said, “Cornelius is ready, he has been sparring heavy with stable mates, Darrell Van Horn, Leandre Blue White, Jacob Bonas and Erick DeLeon.” “K9” won the championship with a devastating knockout in the fifth round.
Over the past 30 years, Steward has trained and managed more than 41 World Champions. These include Wladimir Klitschko the current Heavy-Weight title holder.
Tomasz Adamek to Take on the Tough Eddie Chambers
Polish born Tomasz Adamek will be taking on Eddie Chambers also on June 16, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Adamek is 45-2 with 28 KO’s.
Sitting down with Adamek to talk about this heavyweight match he said, “Day after day, I train for the fight with Eddie Chambers. Eddie is shorter than me and he weighs less. He treats boxing and our fight very seriously. My people tell me there has been a lot of interest about our fight in U.S.A.” Both fighters are listed at 6’ 1”. The arena is expected to have a pro Adamek crowd with lots of Polish red apparel.
Chambers, a Philadelphia native son is 36-2 with 18 KO’s. On March 20, 2010 he faced Wladimir Klitschko for his first ever title shot in Düsseldorf, Germany. Klitschko defeated Chambers by knockout in the final round. The Ukrainian was criticized between rounds by his Detroit based trainer, Emanuel Steward, for not fighting aggressively enough. Klitschko began punching more often during the final round and eventually his left hook hit Chambers to the forehead. The punch made Chambers fall forwards and lose consciousness for a short amount of time. The referee stepped in and called an end to the contest instantly.
Chambers said, “This fight will be interesting and fast. I promise a very interesting fight and that I am going to take advantage of this opportunity.”
This fight will be 12 rounds instead of the customary 10. Kathy Duva of Main Events said this bout is the fourth edition of “Fight Night” on NBC Sports.
“Once I beat Adamek, I’m right back in the middle of it all,” Chambers said. Referring to the heavyweight rankings, he added, “All respect to Tomasz. He’s exciting and has a lot of heart, but I'll be ready for anything.”
“They say Eddie Chambers has fast hands and likes to throw punches. I am also fast and I like to throw punches,” Adamek said. “I think on June 16th we will have a very exciting fight.”
Adamek was recently cheering on his adopted hockey team, the New Jersey Devils which are currently involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “Roger Bloodworth and I are huge Devil supporters,” added Adamek.
For boxing viewers the fight will be televised by NBC Sports but it is also an easy flight into Newark and a short cab ride to the Prudential Center. Main Events and Ziggy Promotions are putting on the match
EDITORS NOTE: Raymond Rolak is a well traveled and veteran sports broadcaster.