WAKEFIELD boxer Andy Townend will step into the ring for his first professional fight tonight, Friday.
The former Kettlethorpe High School pupil, 22, will take on experienced fighter Robin Deakin at the Doncaster Dome.
Townend, a former White Rose Boxing Club member, signed professional terms in the summer and has been eagerly awaiting his first fight as a pro.
And trainer Stefy Bull believes the big-hitting Portobello boxer is more than ready for his pro debut.
“Andy’s ready, I’ve been really impressed with him,” he said.
“To be honest he’s been ready for about four weeks and we’ve been having to hold him back.
“He’s looking good, He’s at 9st 12 now. He was over 10st before but we’ve brought that down and he’s been at that weight for a few weeks now.
“He’s going to have over 100 people coming over to support him so it’s going to be a good night.”
Townend, who represented England as an amateur and won the national Golden Belt title, trains with Bull at his Empress Ballroom gym in Mexborough.
He has the privilege of sparring with Commonwealth and European bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell and his brother Gavin, who are also on Bull’s books.
And Bull believes his “working project” will take to the professional circuit like the proverbial duck to water.
“Whenever I’ve seen him fight or sparred with him I’ve always thought that he’s more geared up to be a professional boxer than an amateur, it suits him more” he said.
“The opposition in a pro fight is usually slower, they’re not going at 100mph like they are in amateur boxing so he’s got to grasp that, but I’m sure he will.
“We’ve had him with us for about three or four months now and we’ve been delighted with his progress.
“He’s not fought for a while, his last amateur fight was probably in the middle of the year so he’s raring to go.
“It’s going to take a few months for him to slowly develop as a boxer but this is going to be a good debut professional fight for him.
“I’m confident that in a year or two, after a few more fights, he’ll make a great pro boxer.”
Deakin’s pro record doesn’t make great reading - he’s won just one of his 39 bouts, losing the other 38.
But Bull believes the Crawley fighter will be a tough first test for Townend.
He said: “Robin Deakin is a journeyman boxer and a lot of people look at the records of journeymen boxers and write them off.
“But they’re as tough as they come. They travel up and down the country and have a lot of experience and they don’t often get knocked down and Robin is one of them.
“He’s got almost 40 fights as a professional and this is going to be a good first fight for Andy. He’ up against a handy fighter.”
Townend will also have to get used to the longer bouts as a pro; he’ll be competing in four, three minute rounds.
Townend’s fight is one of seven on the night at the Dome in a show put on by Bull.
“It’s all set-up to be a great night of boxing,” he said.
“We’ve sold a load of tickets; all the tables have almost sold out and we’re putting a couple of extra tables on for walk-ups on the night.
“Andy has done brilliantly with ticket sales, he has around 100 people coming over to support him for his first pro fight which is fantastic.”
Townend’s amateur record stands at 33 wins and 16 losses from 49 bouts, including a cruel defeat in the ABA finals at the end of March.
He found his way to Bull’s Empress Ballrooms gym via Hard and Fast BC in Cudworth, Barnsley.
After moving to live in Barnsley he’s returned to Wakefield recently and will be looking to represent the Merrie City in winning fashion tonight.
Tickets for the event are almost sold out but there will be a handful available to buy on the door priced at £35.
Doors open at 7pm and the boxing commences at 8pm.
For more information contact 07709 451337.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.