Birthday boy Townend targets British Masters title triumph as perfect present

Pictury by Harry Palmer
Pictury by Harry Palmer

Wakefield boxer Andy Townend is hoping to receive the perfect birthday present when he enters the ring in Doncaster tonight, Friday.

The former Kettlethorpe High School pupil turns 24 today and is keen to celebrate by claiming the British Masters lightweight title.

Townend takes on Barnsley fighter Ben Wager over ten rounds at the Doncaster Dome for his first shot at a title since turning professional.

“I’ve been training hard and I’m ready to go now, I’m hungry to get in that ring,” said the former White Rose Boxing Club big-hitter.

“It’s my birthday on Friday so it makes it that bit extra special and hopefully I can celebrate by winning that title.”

The fight is evenly matched.

Townend has five wins and one defeat to his name, with his only loss coming last time out against Dougie Curran over six rounds.

Wager has six wins, three defeats and one draw from his ten bouts.

It will be the first time both boxers have fought over ten rounds but it will not be the first time they have gone toe-to-toe in the ring.

The pair met a couple of years ago in an amateur bout and Townend came out on top.

“It’ll have an edge to it because he will want a bit of revenge from that,” said Townend.

“I live down the street from him as well so we know each other, it’ll be a good fight.

“But I’m confident I can win this title. I’ve trained really well. I have to thank my sponsors the Bay Horse pub in Crigglestone because they’ve helped me out financially while I’ve had time off work to train three times a week.”

Townend trains under the watchful eye of Stefy Bull at his Empress Ballroom gym in Mexborough, Doncaster.

He is a stablemate of Jamie McDonnell, who is fighting for the IBF World bantamweight title next month, and Gavin McDonnell, who is gearing up for a British title eliminator contest next week.

Townend has been sparring with both brothers in the build-up to his own title bid and hopes it will have the desired impact.

“I’ve been sparring with them, they’ve both got their own big fights coming up,” he said.

“There’s been a real buzz around the gym over these last few weeks and it’s been a good place to be and a good place to train.”

Townend could not hide his disappointment after suffering a first loss in February against Curran.

But he is hoping he can learn from defeat and more than make amends with a title success in South Yorkshire tonight.

The 24-year-old will be backed by a strong support from Wakefield, with over 130 tickets sold, and they will be out to cheer him to victory.