Emanuel Steward Brings Kronk to Pechanga Casino
By David A. Avila
World famous boxing guru Emanuel Steward, the current trainer for heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko, brings his electric brand of prizefighting to the Pechanga Resort Casino on Friday.
Headlining the Kronk Boxing fight card is Detroit’s Tony Harrison (4-0, 4 KOs) a speedy boxer puncher in the mold of Steward’s former disciples, he fights Long Beach tough guy Cleven Ishe (3-5) in a junior middleweight clash.
The path to success for the Hall of Fame boxing coach Steward has included a lengthy list of many of the greats in the pugilistic sport. Think Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, Hilmer Kenty, Naseem Hamed, Lennox Lewis, Mike McCallum and many more.
Steward is mostly associated with Kronk Gym in Detroit that is considered one of the most intense boxing gyms in the world and established an offensive attacking style that is literally a brand owned by Steward.
Kronk fighters all fought in a mode best described by the motto: the best defense is a potent offense.
When Oscar De La Hoya fell into a style deemed too defensive he was brought to Steward who tinkered here and there and suddenly the East L.A. fighter was back to knocking out opponents with his signature left hooks.
During the time Steward worked with De La Hoya he discovered the rich boxing talent from the Inland areas and started a Kronk Gym in Big Bear. It was in the mountain resort that he saw fighters like Dominic Salcido, Sugar Shane Mosley and Chris Arreola the Riverside heavyweight contender who fought Vitali Klitschko the older brother of Steward’s protégé Wladimir Klitschko.
“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 regularly gives expert boxing analysis for HBO.
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.
Fights on television
Fri. 6 p.m., ESPN2, Teon Kennedy (17-1-1) vs. Chris Martin (23-1-2).