‘That name is still strong’: World boxing champions trained inside Detroit’s Kronk Gym

Kronk Gym is ‘here to stay’

DETROIT – The city of Detroit is known for the car industry and even the Motown sound, but that’s not all.

In the past, Detroit bred multiple World Boxing Champions. Most of them worked hard and trained inside the famous Kronk Boxing Gym.

The bright red and yellow colors spell out the name ‘Kronk Gym’ on the doors outside the boxing gym. The name is respected around the city of Detroit, especially on Detroit’s west side. But it’s inside the gym where that respect is earned and given.

“The Kronk Gym is an internationally, world famous gym,” said CEO of Kronk Gym, Sylvia Steward-Williams.

Steward-Wiliams knows the heavy weight the Kronk name carries because she is the daughter of Emanuel Steward. Her father was a well known American boxer, trainer and commentator for HBO Boxing. He trained 41 World Champion fighters throughout his career at Kronk Gym.

There are some big names with ties to Kronk Gym.

“Hilmer Kenty, our first fighter, Thomas Hearns, Milton McCrory, Jimmy Paul, Duane,” Steward-Williams said.

Former Boxing Champion Milton McCrory started boxing and training at Kronk Gym in 1975. He was just 13 years old.

“Tommy was the ‘Hit Man’, I was the ‘Ice Man’,” said Milton “Ice Man” McCrory.

His professional record was 35-4-1.

“Twenty five knockouts. My first five fights were knockouts. After my third fight my trainer, Walter Smith, said, ‘You have been knocking them out. You have been icing them,’” said McCroy.

The history and accolades of Kronk are all around the gym’s wall.

“There’s so much history here, that you just don’t want to see this thing forgotten," Wayne mayor John Rhaesa said.

But Kronk supporter John Carey said it’ll be hard to forget the legacy of Kronk Gym.

“That name is still strong today because there are still champions coming from all over the world, right now," Carey said.

The history, legacy, and former boxers are definitely part of Kronk Gym, but Rhonda Mitchell said the future of the gym is even better.

“We have new technology. We have new talent. It’s very important to have the gym in this day of age, because it allows the young people to come to a place of refuge, where they can come and feel safe. We’re not going anywhere, we’re here to stay,” Mitchell said.

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