You know the old saying, “Never say never” and despite John Lepak swearing he would never return to the world of boxing, Jeff Styers and the Steward family, who together are the names behind KRONK today, have proven that no matter how resolute we are, sometimes we eat our words. And that's a good thing.
Lepak was just a teenage kid hanging around the gym and boxing when he suddenly found himself in the enviable position as an assistant and office manager for the legendary Emanuel Steward. "What an education I received from this great man," said Lepak. "Of course I didn't know anything, but Emanuel showed me the ropes and lit a fire in me to work hard and get things done. I've carried that with me in every position I've had since."
Jeff Styers and Sylvia Steward-Williams, who are partners in KRONK and ESCOT (Emanuel Steward Champions of Tomorrow KRONK's youth development program), knew they needed a heavy hitter on the ground to take KRONK where they believe it can go. "We needed someone with experience and who could pick up the phone and make things happen quick. The best person I knew who fit that bill was John," said Styers.
"It's a great honor to have been chosen by Jeff and Sylvia, two people I really respect, to come back to the place that started it all for me. To be entrusted at this stage of my sports business career with the great responsibility carrying on the legacy of Emanuel Steward and the gym he created, let's just say it is a charge I do not take lightly.
Lepak said he is thrilled to be doing his part to restore the brilliant shine to the KRONK Gold along with the team already in place. "We know we have the experience, the dedication, the vision and the love of KRONK," said Steward-Williams, "And that's what will take us once again to great heights in the world of boxing and for the city of Detroit."
WHAT BOXING INSIDERS ARE SAYING ABOUT JOHN LEPAK'S RETURN
“John, congratulations to you my man. I look forward to seeing you soon. God bless you.” Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Kronk 7x World Champion
“John Lepak will be a great addition to the KRONK Boxing organization. John brings tremendous experience and talents that will enhance the organization, both amateurs and pros.” Hilmer
Kenty, KRONK’s first World Champion – former WBA Lightweight World Champion
“I am excited to be working with John Lepak and the KRONK team.” Jimmy “Ring Master”
Paul, former KRONK IBF World Champion
“I was very excited to learn of John returning to the world of boxing after being away for so many years. KRONK's first champion was Hilmer Kenty when he won the first of many WBA titles KRONK fighters have won over the years. With John’s history at KRONK, and working on so many WBA title promotions, I look forward to working with him on many fronts. The WBA will always be in KRONK's corner. KRONK has always being a very special to the WBA. We are looking forward to giving opportunities to the youth through our beautiful sport.”
Gilberto Mendoza, president WBA
“John, I am so happy for you. You deserve the position. They made a smart choice. You are a wonderful example of how someone can be honest and faithful to the sport of boxing. You're sincere and I believe you deserve the respect of everyone in our sport. I will work hard and side by side with our great, President Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, to make sure you are recognized by the family of the WBA. In addition, I implore the HOF voting members to induct you, in the memory of our great friend Emanuel Steward, as a member of the next class of inductees. You deserve the recognition.” Gary Shaw, promoter of multiple world champions and current chief of staff for WBA
"John Lepak and KRONK/ESCOT are a winning match for the kids, the community and sport of boxing!” Tom Patti, Cus D’Amato teammate and assistant trainer to Iron Mike Tyson
“John Lepak returning to Kronk will bring back the gold from the 1980’s-90’s era of boxing.” Eric Drath, director/producer of Showtime-featured Macho Camacho documentary
“It is a breath of fresh air to have John return back to the boxing business, I’ve worked with him in the past and look forward to working with him again! They don’t make them like him anymore.” Jolene Mizzone, VP of operations & matchmaker for Main Events “KRONK Boxing and ESCOT just scored a game changer by acquiring the loyal, dedicated, and knowledgeable business and boxing acumen of John Lepak. John Lepak is not only an old school team member from the famous KRONK but was one of Emanuel Steward's protégés who he took under his wing. John flew with it to worldwide prominence. Great chess move from KRONK/ESCOT. Congratulations my Brother.” Harold “Shadow” Knight, Assistant trainer to Emanuel Steward for Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis “Welcome back, John! Boxing (the sport and business) is better off with more people like you involved.” Dougie Fischer. Editor in Chief Ring Magazine. “Looking forward to John setting the course of one of the most storied boxing meccas in the world. His years of experience with Emanuel Steward and devotion to the sport will have a huge impact.” Anthony Cardinale, former attorney for 3x Heavyweight Champion, John Ruiz. “How lucky are they to have you on board! Your experience and knowledge for the sport is second to none. But more importantly your loyalty and love for the sport and the BOXER himself is truly amazing. One great man has left the KRONK gym and another arrives in you, my friend, John. Wish you all the best, my brother. Your friend forever.” Jeff Fenech. 3x World Champion “Was music to my ears to hear John Lepak was returning to KRONK Boxing and ESCOT as the business manager!! John was a fixture at the KRONK gym and within any major promotion going on during the 90’s heydays of boxing in Detroit! His knowledge, drive, and love for the sport of boxing, as well as his desire to have Emmanuel Steward smiling down on him as he helps return KRONK back to its old glory makes this a perfect combination! Welcome back!!” Bronco McKart. 2x World Champion
“Congratulations my guy!” Zab Judah, 6x World Champion