Klitschko & Banks to Carry Kronk Torch Forward

By David Matthew on November 9, 2012
Klitschko & Banks to Carry Kronk Torch Forward
“The man learned a lot from Emanuel. He has been learning a lot from the Kronk spirit.”

Steward’s instincts, tutelage, voice, and soul are a part of Wladimir now—reverberating through his core being like Obi-Won Kenobi to Luke Skywalker…

When Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 50 KOs) faces Mariusz Wach (27-0, 15 KOs) in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday, he will be carrying more than his now solidified legacy as the most dominant heavyweight of the past decade. He will be carrying the Kronk torch forward, furthering the spirit of the late, great Emanuel Steward.

After an embarrassingly one-sided thumping of the undersized and outclassed Jean-Marc Mormeck in his last outing, Klitschko will fight a man two kilos heavier and four centimeters taller on Saturday when he faces Wach, who earlier today weighed in at 113.8 (251 pounds) to Wladimir’s 112 kilos (247 pounds). During an intense weigh-in, Wach seemed confident. Physically, Wach poses a challenge to Wladimir who was actually looking up at Wach, whom stood two inches taller than the Ukrainian champion. Of course, size is but one factor in the sweet science, and often not the most determinative one. Wach will need much more than size to dethrone the Kronk-embodied Klitschko, who will certainly be stirring inside with emotions and spiritual forces in light of Steward’s recent passing, even if the external signs on Wladimir’s face/body seem stoic as ever.

When it came time to select a trainer for tomorrow’s fight with Wach—Wladimir said he immediately knew heavyweight contender Jonathan Banks (whom faces Seth Mitchell next weekend in a big fight in Atlantic City) would train him. While some may be confused at this unconventional pairing, the symmetry is there.  Banks has been a recognizable loyalist in Wladimir’s corner for nearly a decade, and knows him as a fighter as well as just about anyone. He’s sparred with Wlad, lived with him, learned with him.  In fact, Banks has been with Wlad ever since he aligned with Steward.

“The man (Banks) has learned a lot from Emanuel,” explained Wlad.  “I met them both on the same day over nine years ago. Johnathon has been learning a lot from the Kronk spirit.”

While it’s true that Manny Steward is irreplaceable, it’s also true that Manny will always be with Wlad. Steward’s instincts, tutelage, voice, and soul are a part of Wladimir now—reverberating through his core being like Obi-Won Kenobi to Luke Skywalker—and it will never leave him. What Banks can provide is a fresh voice, a new perspective, and perhaps even some unique in-fight instruction from an active and legitimate heavyweight with a considerable skill-set of his own.

Might Banks even be good for Wladimir? Wlad and Manny had become so close and knew each other so well that they barely needed to say anything to each other. They could feel what the other was thinking just by looking. With Banks, he may be able to light a different kind of fire in Wladimir simply by providing a fresh perspective and a progressive commentary in the corner.

Perhaps most important is the spiritual bond Banks and Wladimir share, both being shining examples of Kronk culture’s brightest. This connection has inspired both Klitschko and Banks to commit towards the restoration of Kronk Gym in Detroit, possibly signifying a great renaissance of the legendary gym and brand name.

“Kronk Gym has existed for a long time and it will continue to exist,” explained Wladimir in a recent interview. “I will do my dedication to that. I’m taking responsibility, but I am more than sure that all of us are united in preserving the spirit of Emanuel Steward in Kronk Gym.”

Banks mirrored Wladimir’s sentiments.

“The [Kronk] name alone is a part of my upbringing going back to when I was an amateur fighter,” explained a nostalgic Banks. “Seeing the gym as it is now, from the outside and inside, it’s very hard to look at. As Wladimir said, all of the Kronk fighters that trained under Emanuel are united in keeping that legacy going as he would.”

That legacy continues Saturday when Wladimir carries his belts and Steward’s Kronk spirit with him into the ring with Banks by his side in what should prove to be an intriguing dynamic to observe.
Klitschko vs. Wach can be seen live on EpixHD.com this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EST)

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Wladimir Klitschko - Mariusz Wach Official Weigh-In

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  1. Jethro's Flute 05:38am, 11/12/2012

    Just a quote from the linked article:

    “If any fighter deserves the belated recognition, it’s Frazier. He beat Ali in the ‘Fight of the Century,’ handing him his first loss, and nearly fought him to the death in the ‘Thrilla in Manila.”

    This is enough to disqualify the writer from being taken seriously.

    Yes, Frazier beat Ali but Ali was extremely rusty and fat and didn’t take the fight seriously enough while the ‘Thrilla’ was a one-sided gubbing dished out by Ali to Frazier who was nearly blind when he finished the fight and was half-blind to begin with.

    Can you imagine the slating that Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis or the K brothers would get if they even entered the ring against a man who was blind in one eye?

    As it is, Wlad is a worthy king of the hill and has established dominance over the opposition and that is the most any fighter can do.

    BTW has any heavyweight king ever been recognized in his own time?

    In 20-30 years time, will there be countless articles stating that Wlad would make mincemeat of whoever rules the division?

    Almost certainly, yes.

  2. THE THRESHER 08:25am, 11/11/2012


  3. Mike Casey 12:45am, 11/11/2012

    So do old men who still yearn to be young and fashionable and loved by all. But if you and other writers genuinely believe that the Klits are smarter and punch harder than most of the guys who preceded them, then I respect you one hundred per cent for standing firm on that. I just can’t see how you can reach that conclusion when they are plodding to uninspiring wins over some of the most mediocre ‘contenders’ we have ever seen. Anyway, Ted, we both know as seasoned campaigners how fruitless it can be to go around in ever decreasing circles on these matters of opinion - so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one!

  4. The thresher 04:16pm, 11/10/2012

    The smart man changes with the times and embraces the new along with the old.—Ted Sares 2012

  5. the thresher 04:15pm, 11/10/2012

    Gee Mike, I am entitled to my opinion am I not? It’s just that—an opinion. I am not that old school that I think a short heavyweight could be one of these giants. I just never have written about it, But I intend to.


  6. Mike Casey 03:20pm, 11/10/2012

    ‘Pitbull has the beat. I think the Klits could beat just about any heavyweight in history. They are bigger, stronger, smarter, more disciplined, more athletic, and punch harder. ‘

    Rubbish. I’m absolutely staggered that you should make so sweeping a statement. But since I’ve written many essays on this subject already, there is really no point in repeating all my arguments here.

  7. the thresher 01:45pm, 11/10/2012

    Pitbull has the beat. I think the Klits could beat just about any heavyweight in history. They are bigger, stronger, smarter, more disciplined, more athletic, and punch harder. The day of the small heavyweight 6’ 3” is over.

    The Klits have established the new norm. Wilder and Fury and Price and Helenius etc etc

    Everything looks better through the prism of nostalgia, but the smart man changes with the times and embraces the new along with the old.

  8. PitBull Petrill 12:45pm, 11/10/2012

    By the way, thanks for the link to the Boxinginsider.com masterpeice by Johnny Walker.

  9. PitBull Petrill 12:43pm, 11/10/2012

    Thresher, this guy is a half-witted man and a hack writer. This novice prefaces the thesis by openly admitting that he has not watched the heavies in quite some time. That is not exactly the best way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in an effort to convince readers. The man cannot remember the last time he watched/covered a heavyweight bout. Therefore, he is in no position to comment and critique about the glamour division; he is also in no position to crticise its champion - himself an ATG.

  10. the thresher 11:28am, 11/10/2012

    “The Klitschko brothers are fairly unusual for boxing,” Dahlberg haughtily writes, “though by now their novelty has long since worn off. They both hold advanced university degrees, speak four languages, and can discuss topics far removed from the violence of the ring.”

    Pass the puke bucket.

  11. the thresher 11:22am, 11/10/2012

    David, I could not agree more.

  12. David Matthew 10:04am, 11/10/2012

    Thresh - that is a pathetic attempt to cover boxing, indeed.  It’s funny how these “sports columnists” feel like they can basically ignore the sport and then once a year write about how “boxing is dead” or how “nobody watches the Klitschkos” - when they fill 60,000 soccer stadiums lol.  It’s lazy, unprofessional, and extremely annoying.

  13. the thresher 03:36pm, 11/09/2012

    Read this lazy piece of so-called journalism. More like toilet paper.


  14. the thresher 03:33pm, 11/09/2012

    Now we have “legendary” Tim Dahlberg weighing in on the Klits:



  15. the thresher 03:21pm, 11/09/2012

    Wach can whack!

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