The Oxford English Dictionary defines a Turning Point as ‘time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results’.
History itself is littered with turning points, the detonation of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 changed the world as we moved one step closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. Hitler’s rise to power in economically crippled Germany during the 1930’s certainly changed the future and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s transformed the face of Europe both politically and topographically.
Turning points also come on a much smaller scale, and the night of May the tenth was a turning point in the life and career of Barnsley’s Andy Townend. Coming into the fight on the back of two defeats, the Barnsley man was on the verge of packing the sport in if he failed to defeat Sean Dodd.
The two losses in the space of six months had Townend questioning his role in the sport. ‘I lost to Rendall Monroe which wasn’t a bad result as I was only having my eighth pro fight and he’d fought at the very top, so I wasn’t too disheartened, but the loss to Davies was a bit harder to take. He’s a tricky customer, and I had an off night, but I lost the fight and even though I’d had a difficult build up to the fight I’m offering no excuses.’
‘The Dodd fight was a turning point for me no doubt about it; if I’d lost that fight it’d have been three in a row and I’d have probably jacked it all in. Dodd was a difficult fighter to prepare for, I was watching him against (Scott) Cardle recently and Paul Smith Jr said that he’s difficult to fight as he doesn’t have a clear style he just seems to do it. When I boxed him we knew he hadn’t been past four rounds before. So, going into this fight I had the experience and we knew that after four or five rounds he’d be struggling and blow himself out and then after that I’d start to take control’.
Townend eventually stopped his foe in round seven and in doing so earned himself his first professional title as he took the vacant Central Area title with the win. The fight was the first in a run of nine consecutive wins with seven of them coming by way of stoppage. This successful run of fights has seen Townend propel himself to the cusp of title glory that sees him as mandatory contender for Liam Walsh’s Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title and last week the BBBoC ordered a final eliminator for Walsh’s British title against fellow Yorkshireman Maxi Hughes.
‘I’m in a good position at the moment, I’m the mandatory for the Commonwealth and I’ve got the Hughes fight too. We’re just waiting on a date, but I’ll be in the gym training for the fight and getting ready. Me and Maxi have a history we fought four times as amateurs and it ended up two all, so this will be the decider. I’m excited about this fight and I think the fans are going to be in for a treat’.
Turning points are dotted throughout our lives and the fight against Hughes could well be another pivotal moment in the Yorkshireman’s career. Another watershed moment in Townend’s life was when he met now manager and promoter Stefy Bull. The pair met when the Barnsley man was a sparring partner for Bull not long after his fight with Amir Khan and from that point on the relationship between the two men developed and it’s clear that Townend holds Bull in the highest regard.
‘I’m learning all the time from him, he’s great all I have to do is train and fight and Stefy does all the rest for me. He’s been there and done it and I know he will do his best for me. He always gives me the right advice and he knows where I want to be and he’ll do his best to make sure I get there.’
The one downside for a lot of fighters nowadays is combining a punishing training regime alongside the demands of a full-time job. For Townend, it means a punishing regime of run-work-training-bed. The daily routine is a rigorous and repetitive chore but one that he hopes will eventually be worth it in the long run.
‘It’s hard being a professional boxer and even harder when you have to combine it with a full-time job, but luckily my employer Burrows Toyota Barnsley have been fantastic. They give me the last two weeks before my fight off so I can concentrate fully on the boxing. They buy tickets too and they’re always there supporting me.’
‘The regime before those two weeks is difficult, though, I’m up at half five every morning and by six, I’m out doing the roadwork. When I get back I have a bath and get to work for half eight then I’m at work until five. After that, I’m at the gym for six and I make sure I get home so I can put my baby daughter to bed, otherwise I wouldn’t see her from Monday to Friday. Then once the little one is in bed it’s food and bed and then I start the routine again the next day.’
Turning points are littered everywhere through the course of history and Andy Townend hopes that his fight with Maxi Hughes will be the next one in his life.