Emanuel Steward, earnest yet easygoing, proved rough and tough wasn't the only way to win in boxing. With a twinkle in his eyes, a smile...

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Emanuel Steward, famed boxing trainer, dies at 68

Emanuel Steward, earnest yet easygoing, proved rough and tough wasn’t the only way to win in boxing.

With a twinkle in his eyes, a smile on his face and a soothing voice, Steward developed unique bonds in and out of the ring with a long line of champions that included Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya and Wladimir Klitschko.

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Steward, owner of the Kronk Gym in Detroit and an International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer, died Thursday. He was 68. His executive assistant, Victoria Kirton, said Steward died Thursday at a Chicago hospital. She didn’t disclose the cause of death.

“It is not often that a person in any line of work gets a chance to work with a legend; well, I was privileged enough to work with one for almost a decade,” Klitschko said Thursday. “I will miss our time together. The long talks about boxing, the world, and life itself. Most of all I will miss our friendship.”

Steward, whose father was a coal miner and mother was a seamstress, was born in West Virginia. He got boxing gloves as a Christmas present at the age of 8, the start of what would become a long career in the sweet science.

His gym for years was seen as a way to keep kids out of trouble in southwestern Detroit.

Steward worked since 2001 as a boxing analyst for HBO. “He was the most loyal, generous, positive spirited, broadly accepting man I’ve ever known,” HBO commentator Jim Lampley said. “He had a positive impact on everyone he encountered.”


Tacoma’s Putnam in lead

Tacoma native Michael Putnam tied for the first-round lead in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting 6-under 65 in windy conditions in McKinney, Texas. Putnam is trying to earn a 2013 PGA Tour card with a top-25 finish.

Tiger rallies with five birdies

In other golf action Thursday, Tiger Woods rallied, making five birdies on the back nine for a 5-under 66 that left him three strokes behind leader Troy Matteson in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Matteson had eight birdies in his 63 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

• Wales’ Jamie Donaldson shot a course-record 10-under 62 to take a four-stroke lead after the first round in the European Tour’s BMW Masters in Shanghai. Top-ranked Rory McIlroy, the defending champion, had a 67 and blamed a headache on the air pollution in China.

• South Korea’s Inbee Park shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over top-ranked Yani Tseng after the first round of the LPGA Taiwan Championship.


All quiet as deadline for full NHL season arrives

The NHL’s deadline for playing a full, 82-game season arrived Thursday with no new discussions between the league and its locked-out players. Without a new collective bargaining agreement that would end the league’s lockout of players on its 40th day, the NHL vowed to cut the season short. Major moneymaking events such as the upcoming outdoor Winter Classic and the All-Star Game could soon be in peril, too. The league has already canceled 135 scheduled games.

President Barack Obama is hoping the lockout ends soon. While on NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on Wednesday, he was asked if he could pull any strings to coax an agreement.

“Every time these things happen I just want to remind the owners and the players: You guys make money because you’ve got a whole bunch of fans out there who are working really hard — they buy tickets, they’re watching on TV,” he said. “You all should be able to figure this out. Get this done.”

The league had proposed a 50-50 split in revenues.


Margaret duPont dies at 94

Margaret Osborne duPont, the winner of more than 30 Grand Slam singles and doubles titles spanning three decades, has died, She was 94. DuPont died late Wednesday in El Paso, Texas, while in hospice care.

DuPont won the singles title at Wimbledon in 1947, the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) singles title from 1948 to 1950 and the French singles title in 1946 and 1948.

More tennis

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of next month’s season-ending World Tour Finals because of an ongoing left knee injury. The Spaniard hasn’t played since June.

Serena Williams extended her dominance over the top-ranked player in the world on Thursday, defeating Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-4 at the WTA Championships in Istanbul. Despite the loss, Azarenka can secure the year’s No. 1 position with another victory in the round-robin tournament, which features the top eight players.


• Former American rider Bobby Julich says he used banned drugs during the late 1990s when he finished third in the Tour de France, forcing him Thursday to leave his Team Sky coaching job.

Lolo Jones, a two-time Olympic hurdler, was one of 24 athletes announced Thursday as members of this season’s U.S. bobsled team, something that gives her the chance to vie for a spot on the World Cup circuit this winter and, possibly, represent her country at the 2014 Sochi Games. “This is a breath of fresh air — cool, very cool, cold air,” Jones said.

Bill Laimbeer is returning to the WNBA as the New York Liberty’s general manager and coach. The former Detroit Pistons star led the Detroit Shock to three WNBA titles from 2002 to 2009.

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