Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Emanuel Steward may be gone, but his legendary Kronk Gym lives on in both name and spirit.
Steward’s protégé Johnathon Banks (above) made sure of that on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall, derailing fast-rising heavyweight Seth Mitchell (below) with an inspired performance. Banks was too quick and too slick for the former Michigan State linebacker, knocking Mitchell down three times en route to a second-round stoppage. Banks later dedicated the win to Steward, who first taught him to box at the age of 15.
“I know he’s a man of knockouts, he loved knockouts,” Banks said of Steward. “Never forgotten, and we’re truly going to miss him.”
Banks has fought 31 times professionally and lost only once, but is still viewed as a disappointment by some. Like most Michigan boxers, he fights only sporadically and often in far-flung locations, far from the mainstream fight press. Now, after spending half his life in a boxing gym, Banks suddenly finds himself victorious on HBO, just one week after training heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to victory.