Advertisement
Advertisement

Wladimir On Steward's Absence: I'm Missing A Friend

By Jake Donovan

You can never look past the opponent standing directly in front of you. With that in mind, Wladimir Klitschko remains focused on the task at hand, which is the next defense of his lineal heavyweight championship against Marius Wach on Saturday evening in Hamburg, Germany.

Still, it’s impossible to talk about the fight without discussing the passing of legendary Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward.

As much was proven during a media conference call on Wednesday afternoon, in which nearly all of the questions asked were about Klitschko’s time spent with the trainer of the course of the past 8 ½ years. Few questions were about Wach, which perhaps speaks volumes of the chance of an upset being given to the unbeaten – albeit largely untested – challenger.

Klitschko (58-3, 51KO) pays full respect to all of his opponents. He never talks trash about them, takes every challenge seriously and takes it personal when any of his promotions carry any sort of negative vibe.

But in the time leading up to this weekend’s bout, the long reigning heavyweight king instead views this challenge as his own final tribute to his time spent under Steward’s wing.

“I believe in my coach and he believed in his boxer. That made Emanuel a very, very special man,” Klitschko said of Steward, who passed away on October 25 at age 68. “Emanuel Steward is a genius in the ring and that made me feel very privileged to work for many years with such a legend and a genius.”

Saturday night marks the first time in more than eight years in which Klitschko will be without Steward’s service. Long time stablemate Johnathon Banks makes his debut as chief cornerman for this bout, which airs live on EPIX as well as its online feed at EpixHD.com (4PM ET/1PM PT).

Discussion took place of what changes – if any – would be made once it was clear that Steward could no longer physically serve in the corner. By having Banks – a heavyweight contender who has his own major fight coming up next Saturday against unbeaten Seth Mitchell – in his corner, the theory is that the Kronk vibe forever remains in his camp.

“I can show the spirit of Emanuel Stewart. He will carry us,” Klitschko believes, thankful that he has a fight rather than Steward’s death come during downtime. “I’m actually glad that we have this fight to look forward to. We can stay focused on this fight and finish what he’s been doing. It’s just better than sitting around doing nothing. Everybody has a job and we’re very excited.”

No matter the outcome of Saturday’s fight, however, reality will set in. Steward’s presence will always remain in the ring, and perhaps to a degree beyond the ropes. Gone are the opportunities to sit and talk shop with one of the true geniuses of the sport, as there are no more life lessons to be learned first-hand.

Instead, Klitschko remains for the time spent, as well as having one last chance to speak with his mentor during the 12th round of Steward’s ailment battle.

“The last time I talked to Emanuel was 2 ½ weeks ago,” Klitscho revealed. “The words I got were, “Hello, hello, how are you doing?” Unfortunately, it was the last words I would get. His voice was very strong and his wife Marie held the phone. He wasn’t able to speak too much but that was the last line I heard from Emanuel – a strong, happy and clear sounding voice.”

The impression he left behind remains iron clad. Trainers can always be replaced, for better or for worse. But one thing’s for certain – his absence will forever be noted in Klitschko’s life.

“I’m missing a friend,” Klitschko humbly states.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Someone88 on 11-09-2012

That would be really difficult.

Comment by TensionKiller on 11-08-2012

I felt pretty sad when I read the News, I can only imagine how he would be feeling.

Comment by fladz on 11-08-2012

Wlad will no doubt be very emotional this weekend, it must be horrible to lose somebody so close. I really hope he puts on a masterclass in honour of Manny. War Wlad!

Comment by vitali1999 on 11-08-2012

One of the greatest trainers of all time, maybe the greatest.

Comment by El Pistolero on 11-08-2012

It's disheartening and heartbreaking, Wlad must be torn from the inside

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (7)
Top Headlines Erkan Teper, Despite Suspension, Returns To Face Rossy Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola Take Part in VADA Testing Jarrell Miller vs. Fred Kassi on August 19th, Showtime Ogogo To Eubank Jr: After Golovkin Bashes You Up - I'll Be Ready! Sergio Martinez: Canelo Made Smart Business Move With GGG Nick Blackwell Blown Away By David Haye's Generous Donation Miguel Marriaga vs. Guy Robb WBO Eliminator on August 27th DiBella Thinks Female Pro Boxing Hits Major U.S. TV in 2016 Porter Plots Fall Return, Wants Immediate Thurman Rematch Hearn: Amir Khan Will NEVER Be The Same, NEVER Face Brook Whyte: Don't Be Shocked if Shannon Briggs Drills David Haye Wilder vs. Joshua Will Be Built Up as SHO PPV, Says Hearn Danny Garcia Hits Back at Keith Thurman With Sneaky Reply Haskins vs. Hall is Likely For Brook-Vargas or Golovkin-Eubank Koncz: If Pacquiao Returns, Crawford Not a Thought - Never Was! Mikey Garcia Names Terry Flanagan as Potential Target at 135 Froch Thinks Golovkin Will Struggle With Ramirez, 168 Power Arum: Manny Pacquiao Wants To Fight Again, Not Sure He Can Yet Klitschko Manager Wants Full Investigation on Fury Doping Claim Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras Trade Heated Words Oscar Valdez Ready For The Danger of Hard Punching Rueda Ryan Martin To Make Ring Return on Wilder vs. Arreola Card Povetkin Holds Meeting With WBC: Awaits Decision on Wilder Golovkin, Eubank Jr. Should Sign By This Weekend, Says Hearn SHO's Espinoza: Canelo-GGG in "Fall 2017" Was To Stop Bleeding Photos: Mario Barrios Putting in Work For World Title Eliminator Roman Gonzalez Focused on Cuadras Next, For The Right Price Parker's Promoter: Anthony Joshua Will Eat The Jab All Night! Cecilia Braekhus Returns, Tops First Card in Norway Since 1980 Manuel Avila Continues Unbeaten Run at Cache Creek Casino Smith's Trainer: We Can Beat Canelo, But Will The Judges Agree? News: Boxeo Telemundo Update; Skeete-Lepelley; Jay Harris Thurman Might Make Mandatory Defense Against Avanesyan Next Jonathan Guzman Ready For Wake Title Shot Rabchenko Handed IBF Eliminator On Santa Cruz-Frampton Card Hurd Wants Foes Like Bundrage, Ishe Smith For Upcoming Fights DiBella: Wilder vs. Joshua is Inevitable in Future, But Not Now Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith is NOT a Bad Fight, Explains Hearn Haye: Bellew Fight Must Be at Heavyweight, He Must Add Weight Anthony Mundine Back in Talks For Danny Green Rematch
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement