Also published in the Hartlepool Mail and Newcastle Chronicle
Northern Area welterweight champion, Billy Snaith, has retired from professional boxing two months after defeating rival Daniel Cope at Hardwick Hall.
Snaith, who turned professional under Peter Cope Snr two years ago has five wins and two titles from five outings in the paid ranks, however, family commitments have prompted the decision to hang up the gloves, that and he’s accomplished all he set out to do.
“I’ve a new baby on the way and really want to spend time more with the family,” explained Snaith.
“I feel it’s the right thing and have achieved everything I set out to do.
“I won the Northern Area title (on April 22 via a points win over Cope) and that’s what I wanted to do; I have no regrets. I’ll look back in years to come and be happy with what I’ve done.
“It hasn’t been a rushed decision, I’ve thought about it for a while, spoke in depth with family and my team. I was happy to become a professional boxer so to do that, and win a couple of titles, I’m happy.”
The clash with Cope was a well-publicised affair, the pair at loggerheads on social media in the months building up to their title fight, with Snaith taking Cope’s title after ten rounds of non-stop action.
Now the dust has settled, and although he promised a rematch, it’s now down to the Boxing Board, and the region’s managers and promoters, as to what happens with the vacant title. Snaith was originally scheduled to oppose Tom Whitfield when he joined Steve Wraith’s camp earlier this year however, due to injury to Whitfield that never materialised.
Cope and Whitfield have faced each other twice already, both earning a win apiece and Snaith believes they should go again, for his relinquished title, adding: “I would like to see Daniel face Tom again, they deserve it.
“What Daniel and I went through was just one of those things. It got heated but it’s over and I hope that, if we see each other at shows, or pass in the street, we can talk.”
Snaith’s Tyneside-based manager Steve Wraith was understanding of the decision to walk away, the Ferryhill fighter giving him his first Area champion after nearly five years on the pro circuit himself.
Snaith and stablemate Jeff Saunders picked up titles on the Hardwick Hall show and Wraith said: “It was no-brainer for me when Billy asked me to manage him and we both knew that he wouldn’t be hanging around.
“I got him two title shots and he was the victor in both. What he’s doing now is admirable and I know he’ll be a miss but family comes first.
“My job is to manage and achieve dreams and it was great while it lasted so I’m sure the boxing family will wish him well.”
Having fought out of two boxing gyms, in Hartlepool and South Durham, Snaith has been round a few people during the couple of years in the paid ranks and extends his thanks to those that have helped him.
“Peter Cope Snr and Alan Temple gave me my break and I’ll always be grateful for that but I’d also like to thanks Tracey and Jeff Saunders, my manager Steve Wraith, Ian Glass for getting me in the shape of my life, Stu Armstrong, Peter Mann, and most importantly my friends and family, we’ve had a blast.”
(Originally published in the Newcastle Chronicle, June 2017)
Following an unexpected hiatus the ‘Horden Hitman’ Anth Hardy returns to the ring this Saturday at Hardwick Hall Hotel against the visiting Andrej Cepur.
Originally scheduled to face namesake Nathan Hardy, Anth, who had an unexpected spell on the side-lines due to the need of eye surgery, finally gets to lace up the gloves for the first time in near fourteen months.
Up until the hiatus Hardy had appeared ten times over a three year spell, challenging for the English title against Joe Hughes in Bath back in July 2015, but, following the shock stoppage loss to Sam O’Maison seven months after, it’s been more about re-building than boxing.
“Although Cepur isn’t ideal for me with the weight, I’ll just relax a little more with my intake and when I’m in there I’ll put my foot on the gas and showcase some skills,” Hardy began.
“(Nathan) Hardy unfortunately had to pull out with a hand injury but I’m still looking at this one as a good step then I’ll probably hit the road and face some up and comers to get some rounds under my belt.
“When I first started out I had some time-frames in mind but you soon realise you can’t plan for what’s around the corner so I’m just looking at keeping busy and get maybe four fights in this year, that’ll be perfect, realistic for me.”
Having had successful eye surgery, and potential fights either side of that falling through, including twice with Lee Mould, Hardy recently took in a spell on the commentators table alongside Andrew Buchanan at the Walker Dome. The pair putting out their own ‘version’ of Ant & Dec.
That alone showed that, as is the case with Buchanan, and in Hardy’s eyes, they’re around for some time to come in one form or another.
“The eye surgery certainly got in the way of things but I’ve not stopped and been working hard behind the scenes,” he continued.
“I’ve not really been out the gym (Gus Robinson’s in Hartlepool with Peter Cope Snr and Alan Temple) bar the three week period that was on doctor’s orders. Anyway, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fit professional athlete anyway.
“As for the commentating, alongside Andy, at the Walker Dome, I’d definitely do it again.
“It’s much easier on that side of the ropes for sure. Being in there and doing it is an entirely different concept but I’d like to think that the commentary was honest and fair.
“I’ve known Andy for a long time now and fought on a few shows together; he’s good crack and I know that people like us will be in the sport for a long time.”
One of the first things any boxer will tell you is that they’re blessed, lucky, to get anywhere in this sport the sponsorship and a relatively decent fan-base is required. In Anth’s case he’s had both from the start with his grandfather’s business, Eddie’s Tattoo Studio, playing a vital role in the early stages of his career.
“My uncle has been there from the start, helped with those early bills etc and it’s the small businesses that don’t get thanked enough for the support they give; the same with those that helped me with the recent surgery costs,” added Anth.
“I’d personally like to thank everyone who has had faith in me and supported me through the past twelve months, the surgery and rehab so I hope I can repay them on Saturday night and put in a good performance.”
Anth Hardy, 8-2, appears at Hardwick Hall Hotel this Saturday night opposing Andrej Cepur, 8-33-2, over four rounds on the undercard of Daniel Cope vs Billy Snaith (Northern Area title) and Jeff Saunders vs Chris Truman (British Challenge Belt).
Undefeated in his three professional outings to date, Ferryhill super welterweight, Billy Snaith, has parted company with Hartlepool’s Peter Cope and Alan Temple to sign managerial terms with Tyneside promoter, Steve Wraith.
The move means that, in leaving Hartlepool, he will now be trained in Fishburn under the tutelage of Jeff Saunders Snr and alongside Wraith’s other managed fighters in Jeff Saunders, Carl Wilson and Neil Hepper.
Snaith, who’ll make his bow under new management on March 11 at the Walker Dome, said: “I’m excited for what is a new challenge, a new chapter in my career.
“Cope and Temple have done a lot for me in my early career as a professional and I thank them for that, they gave me a chance and it’s much appreciated.
“I felt the time was right to move on and I know Steve is a good person and will certainly get me what I want in the fight game. I can already see improvements in my fitness being at South Durham and that’s brilliant.
“I’ve known Jeff Snr since the amateurs and, with this being closer to home, it certainly makes things easier for me, there’s also some fantastic sparring in here for me as well what with Jeff (Saunders), Carl (Wilson), Neil (Hepper), and Adam Watson pops in, then you’ve got the amateurs here who’re a tough set of lads.”
Both Steve and Billy know that this, first year together, is crucial, and the fighter is certainly already chasing the big fights with regional prospects, Tom Whitfield, and former stablemate Daniel Cope, in his sights.
For the Tyneside promoter the opportunity to sign up Snaith was too good to pass up and knows that he is moving from one top class gym (Gus Robinson’s) to another (South Durham).
“I am delighted to welcome Billy to our team,” added Steve Wraith.
“He is head strong and determined to achieve all that he can in a short space of time. He approached me asking if I would be willing to help him achieve his ambitions and there was no hesitation.
“He comes from one of the best gyms in the north-east (Cope’s) and is now at another with Jeff Saunders, Mark McGuiness and Ian Glass looking after him; I feel that he has some exciting nights ahead.”
Exciting nights is certainly what Snaith and the rest of the Wraith camp are looking at this year and the super welterweight finished saying: “I’m looking to keep myself busy this year and I want to fight both (Tom) Whitfield and (Daniel) Cope.
“The three of us know that we can beat each other on any given day and that’s what makes for better fights between us.”
Billy Snaith is scheduled to make his first appearance under Steve Wraith on the Pendleton-Wraith co-promotion at the Walker Dome on March 11 alongside his stablemates.
(Images courtesy of Singe Vert Photography)
An exciting evening of entertainment and professional boxing was had at The Lancastrian Suite, Dunston on March 18 as promoter Steve Wraith and Wraith Promotions kicked off the new year in style.
Wins for Billy Snaith, Paul Gidney and Daniel Cope were rolled into one by another stoppage master class from Sedgefield’s Jeff ‘Hands of Stone’ Saunders.
For Wraith it was certainly a case of as you were but with a little difference, putting on a dinner show with entertainment from top comedian tribute in Bobby Thompson, and female vocalist Arya Sage.
On the sporting front though Ferryhill’s Billy Snaith opened impressively with a four threes success over Andrej Cepur, showing why the Cope camp in Hartlepool have him on board.
“He looked very competent and in a great shape,” began Steve.
“Although he’s just starting out he looks like he’s been around a while and certainly has what it takes to make it in the pro game.”
Next up was Mal Gates’ latest protégé, South Shields’ Paul Gidney who gave a workmanlike performance to dismiss the visiting Phil Hervey.
“Gidney has Gates written all over him,” continued Steve.
“He’s also a hard puncher for a little lad. It’s a learning game this sport and he’s certainly showing that he has something about him. He’s in great hands as well and it’s showing.”
Dan Cope put the disappointment of an albeit briefly postponed Northern Area title clash with Tom Whitfield behind him with a hard-fought win over visiting Arvydas Trizno. His opponent even attempting to goad the famous Barmy Army late on, ultimately spurring Cope to victory.
“Cope did really well to motivate himself after what had happened in the build-up and it’s always going to be tough in those circumstances,” added Steve.
“His opponent came to fight and milked the Barmy Army impressively, reminding me of a certain Steve Yorath from my white collar days. He (Trizno) caught Cope a few times but it was a good workout and it was good to get him on the card, even if it wasn’t the fight he wanted.”
(Above, Daniel Cope W PTS4, 39-37 vs. Arvydas Trizno)
Then came another masterclass as Jeff Saunders showed that 2015 was no fluke, dismissing visiting opponent, Zoltan Turai, late in the second. That was after he’s inflicted three counts on him in an opening salvo that few opponents could handle.
The referee, Andrew Wright, finally stopped the contest with nine seconds of the second remaining deeming Turai as being unable to carry on having taken enough punishment from Saunders.
Knowing how much of a talent Jeff is, Steve was the first to sing his praises after the show saying: “He (Jeff) will go all the way and it’s only a matter of time now that we’ll see a title shot.
“It’s already difficult to match him and he’s proving a handful to anybody that’s put in front of him. He can be as good as he wants to be and has all that you need in a fighter, is grounded in and out of the ring as well as being very exciting to watch.”
(Above, Jeff Saunders W TKO2, 2:51 vs. Zoltan Turai)
So, another professional boxing show is done and it’s onto Darlington on May 13 where Anthony Hardy and Lee Mould face for the Northern Area title.
“This was certainly a different concept for us with it being a dinner show and having entertainment on,” said Steve.
“I can’t thank our sponsors enough and the feedback we received afterwards, and at the Grosvenor after-party, was tremendous , showing that we got the balance right.
“Special thanks need giving to Mal (Gates), Peter (Cope Snr) and Tracey (Saunders) for helping push forward with the show. They’ve been a big help to me and it’s great to be able to work with people like them.
“There’s certainly a thirst for the sport in the region and the fans can take a lot of credit for making it a great night all round and the after-party at the Grosvenor Casino made it all worthwhile.”
The next Steve Wraith offering will be at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington on Friday May 13 headlined by Anthony Hardy vs. Lee Mould for the Northern Area title.
Following today’s meeting with the Area Council, Steve Wraith of Pro Boxing Newcastle Gateshead is pleased to announce not one, but two, Northern Area title fights for the New Year.
Wraith, who has been promoting professional boxing since late 2012 in the Tyneside area is not stranger to title fights however, the two we are announcing gives fans that mouth-watering look to 2016.
“Sorting these two fights has taken some time, more so with us waiting for Lee Mould waiting to relinquish his strap, that’s a hard ask of anyone to do,” began Steve.
“Now he has done though it makes way for two cracking area title fights and I can’t thank Peter Cope Snr, and Mal Gates, enough for allowing me to put them on.”
The two fights in which has seen applications granted by the Area Council, and will be contested early next year, sees Tom Whitfield and Daniel Cope go head-to-head for a second time, this time for the Area Welterweight strap; and Anthony Hardy will go toe-to-toe with Lee Mould for the Light Welterweight version.
“Both fights will be very evenly contested and it gives fight fans something to look forward to in the New Year,” continued Steve.
“More details will follow over the festive period, include ticket info and venues etc and we look forward to putting these two, mouth-watering bouts on, in consecutive months.”
Keep checking back to www.proboxingnewcastlegateshead.com for regular updates and interviews.