Flames and Tears: Kronk Gym Fire

Photo Credits: J.C. Reindl, Detroit Free Press

October 7th, 2017. A date that will now be remembered as the true end of the Kronk Gym. Fire erupted on Saturday night, where firefighters responded to an emergency call. It spread to the second floor with smoke reaching out to the streets. The roof would eventually cave in and for 4.5 hours the fire was battled.

Tommy Hearns was one of many to see the aftermath of the original Kronk Gym on Sunday. A gathering for a final goodbye to their gym. The famous Detroit location has been closed for over a decade despite campaigns to save it.

The late Emanuel Steward once trained an array of boxing champions at the Detroit gym. In the prime of the gym in the 1970s, he became a part of the training which transformed the best amateur boxers into elite world level fighters.

Many World champions trained at Kronk gym at least once including Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Naseem Hamed, Julio Cesar Chavez and many more. It became the pinnacle of the sweet science before its closure. Developing many fighters under the guidance of Emanuel Steward, Kronk remained an icon which would eventually become unfazed by the future generations.

For it to be destroyed in a fire, which is suspected to not be an accident; is incredibly depressing. 

“It’s just sad to see that people didn’t value this place like we did. What this building brought for me was a chance at life. I got a chance to become somebody out of this building right here. To see it like this is pitiful — it’s really pitiful.” - Tommy Hearns.

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