Kronk Gym, made famous in Detroit, seeks suburban home

Photos of children participating in Kronk Gym events collect dust in the original, now-abandoned building.

Say it ain’t so.

Kronk Gym, a storied and world-renowned boxing club that churned out three decades of champions in Detroit, is looking for a permanent home in the suburbs, organizers confirmed today.

The gym, which primarily nurtured underprivileged Detroiters until about a decade ago, has become more popular among suburban teens, a trend that some in the organization say is due more to how the gym is promoted than disinterest among young city residents.

The original gym on McGraw, where Tommy Hearns and Oscar De La Hoya trained, was inside the Kronk Community Center on McGraw until it closed in 2006 after thieves stole copper plumbing. Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward improbably turned the city’s first recreation center into a world-renowned boxing hub.

Since the closure, boxers have been using makeshift buildings in Detroit.

If volunteers can raise $500,000 for a permanent home in Southfield, dreams of reopening the gym inside the original building will be no longer.

To some inside the organization, the move couldn’t be sooner.
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One confided that Detroit is too dangerous, comparing the city to Beirut.

Those attitudes, one volunteer countered, is the reason fewer Detroiters are using the gym.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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