You would never guess when speaking to Emanuel Steward that he’s tutored and prepared some of the fiercest and most deadly prizefighters of this and the previous era.
Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, with that paralyzing right hand, made the hair rise out of a whole generation of prizefighters. Lennox Lewis was no cream puff either and dominated the heavyweights until he retired.
The list goes on and on.
Many of his champions were taught at the Kronk Boxing gym in Detroit and now Steward owns the brand and rightfully so.
Steward is Kronk and vice versa.
Pechanga Resort and Casino host Kronk Boxing along with Roy Englebrecht Promotions on Friday, Jan. 13. A number of youngsters from Steward’s stable, including junior middleweight Tony Harrison, will be showcased.
Fast and furious best describes Steward’s style of fighting, which prescribes a riveting offense is the best defense.
Detroit’s Harrison (4-0, 4 KOs), a speedy boxer-puncher in the mold of Steward’s former disciples, fights Long Beach tough guy Cleven Ishe (3-5) in a junior middleweight clash. It should be very entertaining.
Unlike the violent boxing style he teaches, Steward is a very guru-like figure with an easy-going manner who contains an encyclopedia’s worth of fighting wisdom in his cranium.
Last Sunday evening Steward discussed the various differences between west coast and east coast fighters, the politics of the Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather situation and promoting ideas with equal aplomb. His knowledge is astounding.
Moreover, he’s one of the good guys in the sport.
“I’ve always liked Emanuel Steward,” said Henry Ramirez, who trains heavyweight contender Chris Arreola. “He’s really a nice guy and shares his knowledge. He’s not like other trainers or guys in his position.”
Aside from being a Hall of Fame trainer, the Detroit-based Steward also does analysis for HBO and often provides perfect insight of hotly contested prize fights.
Now he’s bringing his brand to Temecula.
“Southern California has been a hot bed for boxing talent since the 1980s,” said Steward by phone. “Before it used to be the New York area had all of the best fighters.”
The Detroit-based trainer and now promoter plans to take advantage of the local talent by staging several boxing shows at Pechanga this year.
“One of the fighters I want to put on is Mark Suarez from Riverside,” said Steward, who used to regularly train boxers in Big Bear.
Steward points toward junior middleweight Harrison as one of his brightest prospects of the future and expects fans to enjoy the youngster’s display of firepower.
“Nobody has lasted past the first round with him,” Steward says of the 21-year-old Michigan junior middleweight. “You know I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t believe he was good. He could be the next Roy Jones Jr.”
Two boxers with Inland ties will also take part in the Kronk Boxing and Roy Engelbrecht Promotions fight card.
Kevin Hoskins (4-0, 3 KOs), who formerly trained in Moreno Valley and Riverside, is scheduled to fight New York’s Angel Torres (2-7-2) in a four round junior lightweight match.
Walter Sarnoi (9-2, 5 KOs) lives in Monterey Park and has fought several times on Riverside and Ontario fight cards. He’ll be matched against Whittier’s Humberto Zatarain (3-0) in what could be a very competitive bout.
Sarnoi’s only losses have come while fighting in Mexico. Both of the defeats came by decision against Francisco Pina.
Zatarain fought three times in 2011 and was victorious. In his first pro bout he was knocked down in round one and rallied furiously to win by decision in four rounds. He is trained by former boxing star Oscar “The Boxer” Muniz.
Rialto’s Dominic Salcido was supposed to headline the fight card but was injured.
For tickets and information call (888) 732-4264.
Fights on television
Fri. 6 p.m., ESPN2, Teon Kennedy (17-1-1) vs. Chris Martin (23-1-2).