By Peter Mann
And so it came to pass that, on the afternoon of Sunday
9th September 2012, professional boxing returned to
Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the first time in around two decades. Not
since the days of the Mayfair and St. James' Hall has the fervour
of excitement for boxing in the capital of the north-east been so
The reasons for such clamour by media and supporters alike, that
of Steve Wraith and his Wraith Promotions (formerly Players Inc
Events Management) company. Mr Wraith is well versed in putting
together big events in the Tyneside area and has done so for nearly
twenty years. Although this was probably one of the biggest
accomplishments, it was achieved in the manner of a well oiled
But who is Steve Wraith? What drives the man behind the return
of professional boxing to Tyneside?
Whether it be an end of season charity night for his old Sunday
League club, or a memorial cricket match in memory of the Hitman
Herron; or the Krays and other Gangster themed events, or the past
few years under his Players Inc banner alongside that of long-time
friend Joe Allon and designer Andrew Brewster, Mr Wraith has always
been at the forefront.
Add to that his media contributions be it at Newcastle United or
Gateshead, both clubs have appointed Mr Wraith in specific roles in
the past twenty years. There's also the fanzines, yes, the fanzine,
the magazine for the fans by the fans. Mr Wraith's first jump into
the market saw him launch one of the first in the early nineties
with that of The Mighty Quinn/Number Nine. Then there was the
Players Inc Magazine which covered the entire north-east, and now,
well that belongs to Toon Talk fanzine, Mr Wraith's one and only
true 'sporting' love.
He is a lifelong Newcastle United fan, a father and husband to a
wonderful family, and, coming from nearby Dunston, he is the
consummate Geordie through and through. Not many on Tyneside will
have a bad word to say about him, the same can be said outside of
Tyneside as well, unless of course you are of a Sunderland
Earlier this year, in March, with his mentor Phil Jeffries, he
co-promoted a show at the Lancastrian Suite in Dunston "to learn
the trade." Tyneside waited with baited breath for the impending
return of "big time boxing" to the heart of the region.
And, having watched Jeffries intently in recent months, learning
from one of the best, Steve Wraith was ready to step out of the
shadows and into boxing promoters' limelight. And he did so in
style as a 700 plus crowd at the O2 Academy on a sunny Sunday in
September cannot be wrong. Can they?
"I've been a boxing fan since the age of 14 but would never have
made it as a fighter," claimed Mr Wraith.
"I was training with the likes of Billy Hardy, Glenn McCrory and
Terry Fenwick back then but the first time I got hit in the face
that was it."
The Press Conference went according to plan, the build-up to
Return of the Ca$h only hit a few minor snags with a couple of
withdrawals and the day itself, well the media coverage and crowd
presence answers that last one.
Catching up with Steve Wraith afterwards he had a lot to say
about what had gone on before him. Not only the fighters that were
on the card, but those that have supported him throughout the whole
process and his transition to successful boxing promoter garnered a
response. Granted only time will tell as to how far this goes, but
on face value it looks like it will be all the way as professional
boxing returned to Tyneside with a quite a bang.
Also, there would be no real achievement without the assistance
of those at the O2 Academy, but come on, what other venue could
there have been for such an occasion? It was the perfect stage for
the event and everyone knew that was the case.
Looking back on the event Mr Wraith said that "The most
important thing was the feedback from the customers which was
brilliant, as was the boxing that was performed on the show, a show
which, in all honesty, was stolen by the Taylor Ward-David Lake
"I can see those two clashing horns again in the future.
"The show itself though was all about Cash and he handled the
whole thing well, overcame the obstacles and event well, and
against a tough opponent.
The bloke he faced was a challenge for me personally after two
cancellations, but Cash has given himself a building block for the
Not just that of Ward-Lake and the in-ring return of Akash
Hussein, Mr Wraith was full of praise for others on the bill on
Sunday and added "I am delighted for Dougie Curran finally fighting
in front of his own fans, his ring performance was fantastic.
"All at Wraith Promotions wish him well not only for his
impending title fight but for the future.
"The other fights and fighters on the card did not disappoint.
Fergie's problem was probably his stepping up in weight for his
bout and he'll learn from that. He'll do a lot of hard work and
will bounce back from it.
"Chubzy was cool, calm and collected and is a class act with a
But, from an overall perspective his standout moment is somewhat
a surprise, but an understandable one as well considering this was
his promotional debut. Mr Wraith went on to say that "The standout
moment for me really was when standing ringside and looking out to
a packed house.
"It was an immense feeling and pride which filled me. Both the
vision and the venue worked well as a spectator sport. It was a
testament to the show and was a full house throughout.
"The event went like clockwork but I have been in event
management for around twenty years.
"We've hit the ground running with over a 700 plus crowd and a
great bill. The customers are the most important people and they
can't be short changed which they weren't."
Not just all of that though as Mr Wraith also heaped both
gratitude and praise onto those around him. The people that helped
to make 'Return of the Ca$h' not just a reality, but the success in
which it was, were also thanked. He concluded his interview by
saying that the "Event wouldn't have happened without that of Phil
Jeffries, who has been a big help throughout and backed the
"We will definitely be working together in the future, not as
"There is also Dave Garside and the BBBofC, also Provision
Sports Management who have come onboard and been a great help. As
well as sponsors DT Contracts along with that of Grosvenor Casinos,
Phoenix Securities and LA Taxis who were bout sponsors.
"And the O2 Academy for providing and received some great
publicity themselves out of it.
"The print and online media as well deserve praise through the
likes of John Hannen, Peter Mann, Stuart Rayner and John Gibson who
have all been fantastic in the build-up."
What of the future of Wraith Promotions and particularly
Tyneside boxing? Well that is a simple one really when you look
back at what has just transgressed.
"I wasn't looking to get another event in this year but after
Sunday that plan has changed somewhat," said Mr Wraith.
"I've got to look at another one straight away to keep the
"I'll go straight back to the O2 Academy and will look to make
an announcement in the next week or so.
"For now though I'm just looking to help Jeffries promotes and
works on his show at the Borough Hall in Hartlepool on the