Feature | Apr 29 2017

When Johnathon Banks followed in Emanuel Steward’s footsteps

Declan Warrington spoke to Wladimir Klitschko's trainer Johnathon Banks about the major part he has to play
Johnathon Banks
Wladimir Klitschko's trainer Johnathon Banks during the public workout  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

IF Manny Steward left a legacy in boxing it is felt more through the existence of Johnathon Banks than any of the famous fighters he once trained.

It may often be thought that Thomas Hearns was his greatest success, but also with Wladimir Klitschko he rescued and rebuilt the career of a fighter considered in decline and in Detroit’s iconic Kronk gym he provided the ideal environment in which to nurture raw, promising talent. In Banks there is another who represents so many – if not all – of the values Steward encouraged and which so many hold dear.

From the outside the American was a surprise choice, in the aftermath of Steward’s October 2012 death, to succeed him as both Klitschko’s trainer and, perhaps more relevantly given the reach of Steward’s influence, as the figurehead of the Kronk gym.