At a press conference last Friday at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, and with the backdrop of the famed Joe Louis statue, Kronk Boxing Detroit announced a new partnership between Sylvia Steward-Williams, daughter of Kronk’s Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, and Jeff Styers, owner of Norwayne Boxing Gym Youth Development Program in Westland.
The partnership will align Norwayne Boxing Gym’s boxing and youth development programs with the famed Kronk heritage and brand name. The goal of the partnership is to inspire kids to achieve and develop into the champions they may not yet know they can be, both in the ring and in life. All programs are free to youth.
“My father cared deeply about the young people at the (former Kronk Gym on Detroit’s west side),” says Steward-Williams. “He took care of them. When the opportunity came to partner with Jeff Styers, who has a track record of putting kids and their futures first, I knew we had to find a way to join forces.”
Steward-Williams has been leading the Kronk brand for more than 25 years and holds all the rights to the brand.
Styers, founder and CEO of Arrow Strategies, an employment agency in Southfield, founded Norwayne Boxing Gym in 2015 so that kids in metro Detroit could learn life lessons that come from boxing training and competition. It quickly grew into a program that includes mentoring, tutoring, community involvement, and leadership, in addition to athletics.
He credits the lessons he learned as both an amateur and a professional boxer as primary reasons for his success in life. He has made it his mission to teach others.
“My relationship with the Stewards, getting to know Emanuel, his wife, Marie, and daughter, Sylvia, goes back many years,” says Styers. “Even as a young boxer, I revered the Kronk name and the boxers it produced.
“Seeing an opponent in Kronk trunks across the ring, I knew it was going to be a good fight. To say I’m honored to be a partner in the international Kronk brand and with this legendary family, is an understatement. To carry on Emanuel’s mission is a dream come true.”
Emanuel Steward, who passed away in 2012 at age 68, was the world’s most successful boxing trainer, having trained 41 world champion fighters, including Tommy Hearns, Hilmer Kenty, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Milton McCrory, Andy Lee, and Oscar De La Hoya.
In addition to training youth, amateur, and professional boxers, Emanual Steward was a longtime commentator for HBO Boxing, and was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. In addition, he donated his time and money to help children attend school and graduate from high school.
The new Kronk Gym is located at the Jefferson-Barns Community Vitality Center at 32150 Dorsey St. in Westland.