Tag Archives: Dolphin Centre

Darlington to become the next boxing hotbed?


Newcastle, Sunderland, and now Darlington, are proving, over time, to be hotbeds within professional boxing.
Darlington has enjoyed a flourishing amateur scene in recent years, more so at the gyms ran by Andy Marksby, and Paul Hamilton (previously at DBMA at the Echo Arena), with Troy Williamson the most recognised to have turned over in recent times.
Now, Tyneside promoter-manager, Steve Wraith continues to make an impact in the County Durham town, along with Peter Shepperson, who took over from Hamilton at DBMA.
Having added management abilities to his repertoire Wraith cut his teeth with then-returning Darlington favourite, Neil Hepper who, after a spell in the wilderness, is now on the cusp of titles; he also added Carl Wilson to the mix and took the sport back to the Dolphin Centre last November.
Hepper has recently been joined in the Darlington fold by Mark Downing (who’ll debut in December), Chrissy Wood, Richard O’Neill, another debutant, Ellis Corrie, the latter trio, along with Chris Burton, under Shepperson’s tutelage (he also trains world title challenger Stuart Hall).
“I’ve been here for three years now and took out my pro licence at the start of this year because Chrissy asked me to,” began Shepperson.
“Because of that I’ve been helping Stuey (Hall) who I’ve known for years and got involved with Steve (Wraith).
“The lads are in the gym all the time which is good as they not only want to stay in shape but they want to fight regularly as well, which is what we are doing.”
Chrissy, who returned to the ring at St James’ Park after a four year hiatus, already has one and possibly another, fight lined up between now and the end of the year.
Defeating Russ Midgley over four last time out he steps up to eight in Sheffield on October 13 (Sam Sheedy’s Commonwealth undercard) against undefeated home fighter, Ramzy Nassa he added: “I never wanted to walk away though and always wanted to get back in there and box again.
“Knowing of (Neil) Hepper and (Carl) Wilson, and what people like Steve (Wraith) are doing in the area helped me make up my mind to return.
“I want to win titles though and to be in for the Area title within twelve months. Actions speak louder than words though and I believe I’m good enough.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with Stuey Hall (who’s training for the Matchroom show on Tyneside later this month) and that’s good for me as he’s really good at what he does and still has a lot to give.”
O’Neill meanwhile spent the early years of his career at Hartlepool’s Gus Robinson’s Gym before recently taking the option to break contract and move from Hartlepool to Darlington in the search for more opportunities.
“I want more fights, to be out regular and competing in the ring,” stated O’Neill.
“I was last out in March against a lad that was 6’ 5” and it was a fight I shouldn’t have taken really, had all sorts of issues in the build-up.
“Now, not only will I go on the road, I want to start challenging for the Area title in the near future and have what, five or six fights next year.”
The unknown quantity, and most recent addition to Wraith’s stable is Ellis Corrie, a former Muay Thai champion who has won titles at home, and abroad, during a stellar career.
Changing sports has been an interesting transition and, as he looks to fast-track himself into the title mix, it’ll be interesting to see what he does next, his debut scheduled for Darlington later this year.
He added: “I’ve just been playing the waiting game and training just as a boxer for a few months now.
“I’m ready to go now and want at least one fight before the end of the year, maybe more.
“I’m willing to go on the road as I’ve travelled around the globe anyway and had similar calibre fighters whilst doing five, three minute rounds as it is.”
All five of Steve’s fighters will be appearing at the Dolphin Centre’s Xmas Cracker on the afternoon of Saturday December 2 with standard tickets £37.50 and VIP (which includes a one course xmas dinner) at £55, tickets available from all fighters or from www.proboxingnewcastlegateshead.com 
Published in the Sunday Sun

Wraith making Waves


This Sunday, in the Bamburgh Suite at St James Park, the home of Newcastle United Football Club, is the first of three shows in three months for Tyneside Promoter-Manager, Steve Wraith.

This year, in terms of promotional push, it will have been the busiest for the man who put on his first show just over four years ago, at the O2 Academy.

Now, with the ‘Showdown at St James’ about to be played out to the masses featuring three of the PBNG stable in Jeff Saunders, Neil Hepper and Carl Wilson, Steve is already looking ahead, not to the net one, but the next two shows.

“For a promoter who is supposed to be having a bad year finishing off 2016 with three top shows in three months clearly shows you should never believe everything you read in the media,” began Steve.

“We have had a transitional year and have branched into new areas which is something nobody else in the North East pro scene has done on a regular basis.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing my 3 lads box on Sunday at St James Park and then helping them reach their goals in the next 12 months. ”


Following Sunday’s ‘Showdown at St James’ Steve goes back on the road with a trip back to Tolworth for the ‘No Tricks, Just Treats’ Tolworth III show at the Tolworth Recreation Centre on October 29 before a return for his fighters to Darlington’s citadel of boxing, The Dolphin Centre, on November 26.

All at Pro Boxing Newcastle Gateshead would like to thank our sponsors, Grosvenor Casino (the official after party venue) and Pavel’s Gents Hairdressers for their continued support.




Hepper the Comeback Kid

HEPPER2Having not fought since November 2014, in a reverse with Kevin Hopper at the Doncaster Dome, Darlington’s Neil Hepper finally makes his eagerly awaited comeback on the Steve Wraith promotion ‘Friday 13 Fight Night’ in Hepper’s home town on Friday May 13.

The Dolphin Centre will play host to a plethora of regional talent as Hepper is joined by a British Challenge title clash for Hartlepool’s Peter Cope among others. For Hepper it is an opportunity to pull back nearly eighteen months of inactivity and show that, although he has not fought, he still knows a thing or two.

All roads now lead to May 13 for the 28-year-old who has not stopped training, he works at BoxFit Health Club, but now, with six solid weeks left, it’s all systems go. He said: “Everything is good now and I’m back in full training and raring to go for the 13th.

“The weeks have flown over since we began talking about my comeback and now we’re into the final six weeks it’s mind-blowing. I’m glad to be back though but I’m not putting any pressure on myself, especially knowing what things were like the first time around. I’m not a beginner, I’ve had ten professional bouts and a lot of amateur so this is about coming back and winning in style.”



Since the announcement of his return, and his signing of management terms with Tyneside-based promoter-manager Steve Wraith, Hepper, thanks to the intervention of Tracey Saunders, has been immersed in a training camp alongside Jeff Snr and Jnr, Bradley, Mark McGuinness et al at the South Durham stronghold.

It is a move that, with belief and raw energy, can pay massive dividends, for Team Saunders, Hepper, and the increasing fan base.

“I’m bouncing off the lads in there,” added Neil.

“When you’re in with someone like Jeff, and the amateur lads, the lot of whom are constantly out fighting, then the atmosphere is more than good. It adds extra interest to what I’m doing and it seems like there’s a lot more this time around so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and seeing people again.”

Hepper is sponsored by BoxFit Health Club, DL Sports Therapy, Boss Printing & Embroidery and 3D Strength Fightwear; the show is sponsored by Elixir @ Bijou Darlington, the official after party venue and Grosvenor Casino. Tickets are now on sale via fighters and the PBNG Ticket Site.


PBNG Announces Friday Fight Night




Promoter Steve Wraith and Pro Boxing Newcastle Gateshead can officially announce their next professional boxing show.

Darlington’s Dolphin Centre will host, on the night of Friday 13th May ‘Friday Fight Night’ and which will headline a Northern Area title clash between the ‘Horden Hitman’ Anthony Hardy; 8-2 against the ‘Mackem Mexican’ Lee Mould; 7-1-1 (2).

Also appearing will be the returns of Darlington duo Neil Hepper; 6-4 in his first professional outing since November 2014, and Lloyd Creighton 1-2 who returns after over seven years away from the sport. Both Hepper and Creighton are managed by Steve Wraith.

‘Friday Fight Night’ is sponsored by Grosvenor Casino, anyone else wishing to take advantage of our sponsorship opportunities please email petermann78@hotmail.com asap.

Tickets for the show will be on sale soon via this website, and the fighters on the show.


Hepper becomes Wraith’s first signing


Darlington’s Neil Hepper, 6-4, became Steve Wraith’s first professionally-managed boxer this week when he signed a three year contract with the Newcastle-based promoter.

Hepper, who has not fought since November 2014, makes the return with a completely new team behind him (he’ll also be trained by Jeff Saunders Snr and Mark McGuiness) and will make his return in late Spring 2016, hopefully in Darlington.

Neil said of the news: “I was already aware of the connections between Steve (Wraith) and the Saunders camp and a lot of people have come to me asking about my returning, especially Tracey and Steve.

“They have a great, strong team in that gym and I now believe that I have the full package available to me; that and Steve is certainly one of the lads.

“Personally I just needed to re-evaluate and I know that I can do something good in the sport and will give 100% effort, commitment and a fresh outlook to my impending return.”

Steve meanwhile, who took out his managers licence earlier this year after three years as a promoter, is delighted to make Neil his first signing.

He added: “It’s great that I can make Neil my first signing and, although he was still under contract at the time he was someone I was interested in.

“I’ve bided my time and it’s paid off and I couldn’t have done that without the proper introductions made by Tracey (Saunders). I’ve watched him fight before and he’s a great lad , exciting and good for the north-east as a whole.

“Now it’s just a case at looking at a possible homecoming towards the end of April 2016.”

Neil Hepper signed a three-year professional management contract with Steve Wraith at the Dolphin Centre in Darlington on November 10 2015.

View Neil Hepper’s PBNG profile HERE