ON Sunday afternoon in Detroit, a special gathering took place as the legendary Kronk gym was re-born in what was once a church on the west side of the city made famous by its car manufacturing and its boxing legends. One of the most celebrated of these Detroit fighters is former multi-weight king Thomas Hearns and yesterday, “The Hitman” himself was on hand to see the Kronk re-opened in it’s third location.
The original gym, opened by the late Emanuel Steward in the early 1970s, closed in 2006 due to financial problems. The second incarnation closed in 2012, shortly after Steward’s untimely death. Now, in a building that once held bible readings and the singing of hymns, up-and-coming fighters will train as they as they attempt to achieve what Hearns and so many other special fighters did inside the scorching heart of the Kronk gymnasium.
Steward’s daughter, Sylvia Steward-Williams, found the new location in January of this year, and yesterday the official opening took place with local media – including The Detroit Free Press – covering the occasion. Naturally, 56-year-old legend Hearns attracted much of the attention.
“Tons of memories,” Hearns told the gathered audience, as quoted by The Detroit Free Press. “It is awesome. I want to give back to Kronk.”
Hearns has always readily admitted his huge debt to Kronk and to Steward, and both men really did help make each other. Now, with what is arguably the most famous boxing gym in the world – aside, perhaps, from The 5th Street Gym in Miami – back in business, new talent can push themselves as they try and make something of their lives. While local kids will also have a place to hang out and avoid trouble as they get themselves fit.
It is hoped the third incarnation of Kronk proves to be a success.