The 30-year-old, who fought at super-featherweight and lightweight, has, like his former stablemate Robbie Barrett from Darfield, fallen out of love with the unseen side of the sport. “I can’t be bothered with it any more,” admitted Townend.
“I always said to my family that I would get to 30 and see where I am in my career. My intention was to win the British title earlier this year and push on from there. But I lost and it would probably take me two or three years to get back to the highest level. There is another side of boxing with selling tickets. It’s something people don’t see and it is more hassle than it’s worth.”
After a successful amateur career, spent largely with Cudworth club Hard and Fast, Townend went professional under the guidance of former sparring partner Stefy Bull. He quickly earned the nickname of ‘The KO Kid’ after a string of devastating stoppage wins. He managed to shake off surprise points losses to Dougie Curran and Dai Davies either side of a spirited ten-round defeat against former world champion Rendall Munroe and then went on a hot streak for two years.
He picked up the Central Area and English lightweight titles and beat the likes of Sean Dodd, Peter Cope, Femi Fehintola, John Green and Barnsley-born Craig Poxton all by stoppages. He was then stopped himself by Martin J Ward, for the British title, on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s win over Kell Brook at the o2 in London.
He managed to rebuild and featured on another mega show but disappointment struck again as he failed to make weight for a Commonwealth title fight against Jon Kays at Bramall Lane as Brook topped the bill against Errol Spence Junior. Townend worked his way back into British title contention earlier this year but again fell short as he was beaten in six rounds by ex-Olympian Joe Cordina.
Townend said: “I’ve got a few highlights. Taking on Rendall and going ten rounds when he said he was going to take me out in four is up there, and obviously winning the titles. I also sparred with Luke Campbell and trained with the McDonnell brothers. There are no regrets and I have enjoyed it while it lasted.
“There have been ups and downs but it’s professional boxing – it’s never going to be plain sailing. I am proud that I never ducked anybody and always went to win.”
Townend now intends to set up his own gym in the Wakefield area where he wants to pass on some expertise to youngsters – just like he received off former Hard and Fast coach Fred Gummerson, who died earlier this year.
“Fred was a big influence on me and it’s up to the likes of me to pass on what I was taught to the youngsters. Boxing is a big family and you seem to spend more time in the gym than you do with your family. You end up smiling, laughing and crying together. I just want to thank the people who have supported me through my career and the coaches I’ve worked with. I have made some good memories.”