Boxing promoter Steve Wraith believes there are exciting times ahead for professional boxing in Newcastle after a fantastic first professional show under his banner, Wraith Promotions.
The show billed ‘The Return of the Cash’ in homage to returning headliner Akash Hussein was a real success last Sunday at the O2 Academy in Newcastle and Wraith is hoping that the success will have a knock on effect.
“I was delighted with it,” Steve said. “It couldn’t have gone any better. For an event like that to go without any hitches was great. This was my first show so I just wanted it to go well and for people to leave with a positive vibe after. That was the key for me, for people to go away and talk about it and speaking to people the last couple of days on the streets it appears that is what has happened.”
This was Steve’s first professional boxing show, however, he has been involved in event management for 20 years now and started white-collar boxing shows seven years ago so certainly had the experience required to put on a great show and it showed.
“I have done shows for 20 years but now I have to follow the rules and regulations of the British Boxing Board of Control. I find that very easy though because the board were there to help me not to work against me and they bent over backwards to help me put this show on. I think the venue was very good and complied with their high expectations too.”
Steve is an actor by trade and is this year appearing in the Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre’s pantomime at Christmas and as a result was not planning on hosting another show this year. However, after the success of last Sunday he said there will be another show probably in November with details to be announced shortly.
He is very optimistic about the future though after he became the first Newcastle-based promoter to host a boxing show in Newcastle for about 40 years.
He said: “The day was great, from just stepping into the O2 at 11am and just seeing the venue take shape, the chairs being put out and the ring being together, it was a real sense of achievement that we’d finally got to that stage. I feel there is a real buzz about Newcastle after the show and I have already had other boxers coming expressing an interest to box in that venue.
“It was a really good atmosphere in the venue and I think the only people disappointed on the day was the venue because they didn’t make much money at the bar. Usually you’d see fans coming to just support their boxer but on Sunday they seemed to be in their seat the whole show watching every fight, which from a promoters perspective and a fighters that is fantastic because it is a credit to how entertaining the fights and fighters were.
“If every show is as entertaining as that was the boxing in Newcastle has got a big, big future. I know it has because I know how good the fighters are and the potential fights that could develop are certainly going to catch the imagination. All we need, either in Newcastle or Sunderland, is one or two champions coming through and eventually we could have someone challenging for a world championship again and that has got to be the aim.”
Wraith believes that the feel good factor his show has left will hopefully have an ‘X-Factor effect’ as boxers look at the success of the shows and will therefore push themselves harder to be apart of the success. He also sees it as a great opportunity for some who would alternatively turn to crime to instead make something positive of their lives.
Wraith was also full of praise for his ‘mentor’ Phil Jeffries who over the last 18 months has helped Steve get to the point of putting on his own show and also gave up his own time on the day to be at the show and help Steve along the day.
Jeffries himself will promote the next show in the North East at the Hartlepool Borough Hall on September 30th. The bill will include two title fights as Martin Ward has a mouth-watering clash with Jason Booth for the English title and in a rematch of their clash in Hartlepool in March, Gary Fox and Neil Hepper will square up for the Northern Area title.
Following that, before Christmas Steve will host his second show, this time on a Saturday night but before that he has two big events with both Mike Tyson and Nigel Benn coming to the North East for talks. Tickets are available for both at http://www.wraithpromotions.com