Merrie City boxing pro Townend aiming high

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A BIG-HITTING boxer from the Merrie City has set his sights on winning a British title after signing forms to turn professional.

Andy Townend, from Portobello, will train as a pro under trainer Stefy Bull at Mexborough’s Empress Ballroom gym and will enter the ring for his first pro fight in November.

The 22-year-old was hot property during his amateur career, winning the national Golden Belt title at light welterweight and going on to represent England.

He’ll make the step up to professional boxing as a lightweight and is confident he has what it takes to make a name for himself in the ring, despite his first pro bout being over three months away.

“I really can’t wait to get in the ring for my first pro fight,” he said.

“Everything has been going well but I know it’ll take time for me to get experience as a professional and I just can’t wait for the fights to come.

“I’ll be going for some regional titles but then I’ll look to achieve a British title. Why not? You’ve got to go for it and you’ve got to aim high.”

Townend, who began his boxing career at Wakefield’s White Rose Boxing Club, will enter the ring as a pro for the first time on a bill at the Doncaster Dome on Friday, November 4.

The former Kettlethorpe High School pupil won the Golden belt in 2005 and won call-ups to represent England against Ireland and Wales.

His record as an amateur stands at 33 wins and 16 losses from 49 bouts, including a cruel defeat in the ABA finals at the end of March.

He admits to being under-par for that last outing as an amateur but blames the defeat on feeling under the weather and won’t be dwelling on it ahead of his pro debut.

And trainer Stefy Bull, a former lightweight boxer who took on Amir Khan in the ring, has full faith in his latest acquisition.

“It’s a big time for Andy and we’re all excited about it,” he said.

“I’ve been working on and off with him for the last few years and used him as a sparring partner while I was still boxing. I was impressed with him then.

“I’d also seen him on the circuit and I always thought his style was more suited to professional boxing rather than amateur so we met and decided it was the right time to do it [turn pro].”

He continued: “We need to build him up as a pro boxer.

“It’ll be a bit of a transition period for him going from amateur to pro but I think he’s at the perfect age and perfect time in his career to do just that.”

Townend, who found his way to the Empress Ballroom Gym via Hard and Fast BC in Cudworth, won’t know his opponent until four weeks before he enters the ring.

But he’ll have the perfect environment to gear-up for the challenge at Bull’s Mexborough gym.

Bull, and fellow coach Dave Hulley, have Commonwealth and European bantomweight champion Jamie McDonnell on their books.

It’ll mean Townend can enjoy sparring sessions with the highly-rated former British champion to get in shape for his pro debut.

Townend admits he was first introduced to the sport when his dad took him to White Rose Boxing Club to “toughen him up”.

He’s confident he’s now tough enough to go all the way as a professional boxer, starting in November.

Townend would like to thank his sponsors, marquee sales company Gala Tent, for its continued financial support.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.