With major tournaments and Olympic qualification pathways just around the corner, this year’s finals are massive for all participants.
Winning the decider and starting the year as Ireland’s best at the weight should provide the women’s champions at Olympic weights the chance to compete at the European Games, European Championships, and World Championships.
Cork’s Desmond has the Olympics on her mind – and has dropped from middleweight to the newly eligible class of welter to improve her chances.
However, when speaking after her semi-final defeat of Dublin Docklands puncher Tina Donnelly, the World Universities and European Championships bronze medal winner stressed that she was just happy to be back.
The Fr Horgan’s fighter seems intent to enjoy being back in boxing following injury problems and college commitments and is avoiding putting any grand pressure on herself ahead of her clash with reigning champion Gráinne Walsh of Sparticus BC – a repeat of the 2013 Intermediate final which Desmond won.
“I am delighted,” Desmond told Irish-Boxing.com.
“It’s been a long while. I got injured there last year and it’s just great to be finally back in the ring and doing what I do best. Tonight was just a warm up and I hope I’ll be able to improve by next week and we will see how it goes,” she added before admitting there were jitters ahead of her first big fight since 2017.
Gaeilgeoir Desmond noted how “I was very nervous. It just took me a while to get going but once I started to throw the shots I was happy.”
“Hopefully if I do what I did in the last round again next week I will be fine. I have a week to relax and get back into it.”
Not only is next weeks decider a mouthwatering prospect, it’s massive in terms of Toyko 2020, but having been out injured and despite dropping down to an Olympic weight Desmond claims victory would prove just a bonus.
“I would have been back [in 2018] if I wanted, but I just took the time to myself and did my own thing, I’ve a career set up.”
“Now I am boxing and back on track, I’m delighted, I’m in a great place in life. Whatever happens now next week is a bonus. I am just delighted to be back.”
While the Cill na Martra native is playing down Saturday’s bout and its importance in favour of promoting a ‘good to be back’ vibe, she still remains confident in her ability and also stresses she feels good at the lighter weight.
An elite international middleweight, Desmond could make a big impression at welter and stated that “if I am not confident, I shouldn’t be here.”
“I look forward to it and once the bell goes it’s all at stake. My weight is perfect and I am feeling good. I am looking forward to it and what ever happens, happens.
“I love [being at welterweight]. I am in good shape and a good place mentally for getting in the ring. Look, a couple of fights and I am sure I will be back to the way I was. I am so excited to get back there.”