New Toronto Promoter Hoping to Follow Quebec’s Lead
By: Ed Hitchins
When Ryan Frazer talks about boxing in Canada, he points to one place known for its resounding success.
“Quebec has winners,” Frazer says. “David Lemieux has been around the world and back. Otis and Howard Grant. Their commission supports them.
Trainer DeWith Frazer (second from left) is hoping his network, which includes stars such as (from left) Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis and Roy Jones, will launch his son Ryan’s forte in promoting to a high level.
“Their amateur shows are bigger than ours. Guys like myself and other promoters need to show up at these amateur shows and help these kids,” he says.
It’s part of the 23-year-old’s motivation to start North Corner Promotions in Toronto, Ont. Fresh out of St. Lawrence College in with a degree in marketing, Frazer says couldn’t see himself in a long-term, 9-to-5 situation.
“I came home from college and I see the boxing scene in Toronto isn’t that great,” Frazer says. “I felt I could really spice things up around here. My father told me if I pursue it, I can really make a difference for boxing in Ontario.”
His dad would know a thing or two about that.
Trainer Dewith Frazer has been involved in boxing for the better part of 30 years, and some of his notable clients including 1988 Olympic silver medalist Egerton Marcus, as well as former IBF champion Steve Molitor.
The elder Frazer says Ontario has lagged in boxing for a generation for a multitude of reasons, finances being a major problem.
“What we’ve been suffering from here is something called ‘not-to-many-action,’” Dewith says. “You may see a fighter fight in June. But you won’t see him until the next June.
“That can’t work. Especially with a young guy coming up, they need to be active. Not only to get publicity, but also to grow,” says Dewith at his studio in Mississauga, Ont.
He says that during the past three decades, most promoters in Ontario aren’t boxing promoters.
“They don’t know the environment,” Dewith argues. “Boxing is a very small business. If they don’t know you, they won’t do business with you. There hasn’t been anyone here that has been known to the boxing community.
“We see Lennox [Lewis] come into the mix,” he says. “He could make a difference, because he is a known commodity.”
Dewith believes his experience and networks linking top people will be able to help his son’s endeavour create a fan base in order to harness and nurture developing talent.
“When I need a fighter that we’re having a problem, we could call Roy Jones,” he says. “Bob Arum and Top Rank do sign fighters from here. I know about Zsolt [Daranyi Jr] who’s contract was recently bought by Cameron Duncan from Top Rank. We have local fighters from here that Top Rank or Golden Boy have no problem allowing us to promote them in our city.
“It is a huge asset to know that,” Dewith says.
However, in a congested sports market that includes teams in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL, the Frazers face an uphill climb promoting in the Canada’s largest city.
Dewith however is not deterred by that.
“The thing is, we have talent here,” he says. “Talent sells. We have kids that have the talent.
“We have to teach them how to speak to the media, how to dress, how to do charity work. We also have to teach the value of our sport,” Dewith says. “That’s what people are looking for right now, a leader.”
Hoping to put together their first show later this summer, Ryan has very lofty expectations. And he hopes to host the regular shows that are the norm in La Belle Province in just a few years.
“I want to make Casino Rama (in Rama, Ont.) the spot within five years,” Ryan says. “That’s the only resort we have like Vegas around here. I feel if I can make it there, I can possibly do Fallsview Casino (In Niagara Falls) as well.
“The boxing community is here, we just have to work together,” Ryan says.