Steward, who was born in West Virginia in 1944, has been one one of the most successful trainers and managers in the last two decades of the 20th century.
Like many young men, he started boxing after receiving a pair of boxing gloves as a gift. The youngster boxed in informal matches that his father set up. When his parents separated, he moved with his mother to Detroit. By age 12, he was training at the Brewster Recreation Center, which had been the boxing home of Joe Louis and Eddie Futch. As an amateur, he ran up a record of 94-3, which culminated with a 1963 National Golden Gloves title. Steward than began training amateur fighters, but eventually gave that up and found full-time employment as an electrician.
But boxing was in his blood. In 1971, he was asked to look after his half-brother James, who was 15 at the time. Steward took him to a nearby gym called, the Kronk. It wasn't long before Emanuel was coaching again. In 1971, his charges dominated the Detroit Golden Gloves, winning seven championships. A year later, he left the security of a full-time electrician's job, and turned his attention to boxing, and the Kronk.
By the mid-70s he had built the gym into a national power, and two of his charges, Thomas Hearns and Hilmer Kenty came close to making the '76 Olympic Team. A year later, the two turned pro with Steward serving double duty as their trainer and manager. On March 2, 1980, Kenty became Steward's first world champion when stopped Ernesto Espana in the fourth round to win the WBA lightweight crown.
Five months later Hall of Famer Thomas Hearns stopped Pipino Cuevas with a blistering second-round kayo to become champion No. 2.
For the rest of the decade and well into the 1990s, Steward's championship roll has swelled. It now includes: Mike McCallum, Milton McCrory, Dennis Andries, Jimmy Paul, Duane Thomas, John David Jackson and Michael Moorer.
Steward's reputation continued to grow. He is now at a stage once enjoyed by fellow Hall of Famers Ray Arcel, Angelo Dundee, Gil Clancy and Eddie Futch. Champions and contenders (Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya and Lennox Lewis among them) seek his wisdom in the final stages of preparation for major fights.
Steward has a stellar reputation in boxing circles and several times as been named "Trainer of the Year," or "Manager of the Year," by the Boxing Writers Association of America. And because of his leadership, the gold and red gym colors of the Kronk are recognized by the international boxing community to epitomize dignity and class in the ring.