Wednesday, April 17, 2024  |


SugarHill believes in cruiserweight hopeful Alexey Zubov

Photo / Salita Promotions
Fighters Network

Pay no attention to that last crummy outing, the last time you saw the kid. Things have been shored up, the bloodline continuation of the Kronk tradition told me.

We got his balance on track, he’s not so wild, he insists.

“He” is SugarHill Steward, or, as you formerly knew him, Javon “Sugar” Hill, nephew to the late great departed tutor and sage and father figure Manny Steward.

Yeah, you read right…

sugarhill-stewardNot long ago, Javon made it official, legal, went to the registrar of names and changed his. “Emanuel was a father to me. I lived with him for 30 years. So, I’m 44. And he was born in 1944. It felt fight,” the trainer told me.

Those are but, of course, immense shoes Steward wore and no one person can fill them. The nephew doesn’t aim to. But he wants to more directly and publicly announce the legacy of greatness, of teaching, of decency, imparted by the Kronk leader, who died four years ago.

He’s working with talent like Adonis Stevenson, the 175 titlist and less refined pugilists, like Alexey Zubov, a 12-1 cruiserweight who fights Nov. 11 in Iowa. “You saw Alexey against Constantin Bejenaru (three fights ago). He was off that night. He’s on track. Mike, he’s going to be a cruiserweight champion,” Steward declared.

“My training is very good,” the Russian-born Zubov, an Oak Park Michigan resident, told me. “I want to be a champion!  I’m getting better and better. I will show at the fight.”

His foe is Jim Franklin, an 11-18-2 guy—and you KNOW those guys are sometimes trickier than ones with a better record, because often they have been put in tough.

Says promoter Dmitriy Salita, “Alexey is getting better each fight. He is definitely improving training with SugarHill for close to a year now.  He is inching in closer to another big fight and I believe Alexey will make noise in the division very soon, he is a drastically improved fighter since last year.  Being one of the busiest cruiserweights I believe it will pay off in his fights.  Most of the top cruiserweights are Russian as is he, but he has made it a point to train with SugarHill in Detroit at Kronk Gym!”