The KO Kid bounces back
James Oddy speaks to super featherweight Andy Townend, the Barnsley-based 'KO Kid' who is proving his resilience after a recent defeat...
One of the toughest challenges a boxer has to face is picking themselves back up again after being put down, either during a fight or during their career.
Andy Townend has already faced such a challenge. The 27-year-old from Barnsley was knocked out in the eighth round of an engaging British super featherweight fight against Martin J. Ward on the undercard of the Kell Brook vs Gennady Golovkin fight in September last year.
Yet 'The KO Kid' was back in action in November, successfully defending his English title against Chris Conwell via a second round TKO.
“I was just going out there and enjoying myself," reflected Townend in conversation with Boxing Monthly as he assessed his third successful defence of his crown. "I won quite comfortable in the end. But all respect to Chris for coming and having a go."
Nicknamed the ‘KO Kid’ due to an impressive 12 early victories in a career ledger of 17-4, it’s a moniker the humble Townend was hesitant to bestow upon himself.
“Soon as I turned senior in the amateurs [I seemed to gain power]," he explained. "I am not sure who gave me the nickname; I didn’t give it to myself. But it’s just how it is.”
His amateur career was a solid one which started, like many youngsters, with a parent encouraging some visits to the gym.
““My dad took me to [the gym] toughen me up. When I was at school, I was only small. I was about seven-and-a-half stone when I left school. I enjoyed it. I was 15 when I started boxing and turned over at 22. I won the golden belt as an amateur. I got to the final junior ABAs and boxed Robbie Davies Jr. And then I got to the senior semi-finals twice; I boxed Ronnie Heffron and Garry Rae. I got beat by them on points. I done alright.”
Townend has carried on meeting solid names since joining the paid ranks, losing to former world title challenger Rendall Munroe on points in 2013 and beating previously unbeaten Sean Dodd by TKO in 2014. His win over fellow Yorkshire man Femi Fehintola in 2015 set him on his current run of impressive form as reigning English champ, his only recent blemish being that loss to Ward.
“I fought the wrong fight [against Ward]." he claimed. "I wasn’t listening to [manager and promoter] Stefy [Bull]. It’s one of those things. You have your good days and your bad days. Respect to Martin Ward.”
The relationship with Bull has been a fruitful one however. “[It’s] very good. He’s helped me out and I’ve been loyal and stuck by him. I’m still the current English champion. For the last two years I’ve been English champion, so he’s got those fights and he got me a fight for the British title. So what more can I ask for?”
Townend is not the type of character to disparage fellow fighters and is clear in his motivation moving forward. “I just want to go for titles," he announced. "My next titles are Commonwealth and European. Whoever. It could be Martin Ward again; I’ll get in with anyone. It doesn’t bother me. I am a boxer, I’m a fighter. I’ll just get stuck straight back in. I’ll get back there. I’ll be back knocking on the door soon…I know I’m that level. Now I just need to go out and win it basically.”
Townend has built up a solid fan base in his hometown of Barnsley, regularly featuring on Bull’s well-received Doncaster dome shows. His enthusiastic following is something which continues to aid his career.
“Especially when you can hear [the fans], it does spur me on," he admitted. "My last fight against Chris I did over 170 tickets. It does help.”
With an exciting style and decent support, it is hard to bet against the ‘The KO Kid’ featuring in plenty more exciting shoot-outs over the coming years.