New North East promoter, Mark Clauzel, is starting as he means to go on, by bringing title fights to Newcastle.
The former undefeated pro stages his first show under new promotional banner, Ringstar Promotions, at the Centre for Sport on December 7, with the headline act coming in the shape of County Durham’s Martin Ward versus Ghanaian Gabriel Odoi Laryea for the Commonwealth bantamweight title.
The future could have been very different though for Clauzel. As recently as last year the 30-year-old was flying high in a promising pro career and, after reaching six fights undefeated, was dreaming of one day winning his own titles. However, after suffering a series of dizzy spells the skilful switch-hitter was eventually forced to accept the inevitable – that he would never pull on a pair of gloves again.
“I was gutted and depressed for a few months,” recalled Clauzel, who has secured sizeable financial backing for his new promotional venture. “I didn’t know what to do with myself and was just moping about. When I go home though I’ve got a little daughter there, and another one on the way, so even if I passed a medical in a year’s time that’s me done with it now; it’s just not worth the risk.”
With his future now firmly involved in developing champions Clauzel, along with his business partner, has big plans for pro boxing in the region. The Tynesider is looking to complement the work already being done by fellow promoters – Sunderland’s Phil Jeffries and Newcastle’s Steve Wraith – and with a minimum of six shows planned for 2014, plus TV backing, he is sure his arrival on the scene is great news for fighters and fight fans.
“Phil [Jeffries] is doing a fantastic job, but he can only do so much, he’s only one man. You’ve also got Steve Wrath doing his thing, and we wish him all the best and hope he does well. But the top and bottom of it is that I have that understanding of the sport after being a fighter. With the contacts and knowledge I’ve got, I believe we bring something else to the table. I’ve worn the t-shirt, I know how hard boxing is, and I’m aware of the kind of fights people want to see.
“For our first promotion, Martin Ward in a Commonwealth title fight, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. It’s been a lot of work, but we’ve managed to get some TV onboard after securing a deal with Sky MyChannel 191 [Free Satellite Channel 400]. The first show will be pre-recorded and shown the following weekend, but we’ve got a deal for six shows in 2014, with the third show definitely broadcast live. We’ve got a big production too with the pyrotechnics, the ring-walks and lights, and it’s going to be very special. I’m absolutely buzzing about the whole thing.”
It’s one step at a time but, with a passionate fan-base in the North East, Mark is aiming to make Newcastle a rival to the other big, boxing power-bases in the UK. The journey begins with Martin Ward but the ambitious Clauzel sees no limit to what can be achieved. To date, Glenn McCrory is the only world champion to have hailed from the banks of the Tyne, Tees or Wear – maybe now, though, that’s all about to change.
“If Martin does his job and wins the Commonwealth title, then in 2014 we’ll be able to build on that and maybe put in purse bids to get the British title up here. There’s enough fighters up here now, from different areas and with different crowds, so we don’t think it will affect the other promoters and it can only be great for the North East.
“The dream is to be building champions and have a stable where every show we put on has a major headliner. The likes of London and Manchester, they’re not taking the North East seriously but they’re going to have to start to now. Over the next 12 months if we can win the purse bids and get the big fights up here then this is really going to take off and the sky is absolutely the limit.”
Ringstar Promotions presents Martin Ward contesting the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight championship against Gabriel Odoi Laryea at Newcastle’s Centre for Sport on December 7. The undercard will feature Hartlepool’s Peter Cope; Horden’s Anthony Hardy; South Shields’ Anthony Nelson; Newcastle’s Andrew Buchanan; County Durham’s Tommy Ward; Gateshead’s Rob Ismay; Northumberland’s Lewis Scott, and Sunderland’s Danny Hughes.
Tickets are available from all boxers or from the Centre for Sport on 0191 241 7700.