Christina Desmond guarantees bronze in Bulgaria

Cork middleweight Christina Desmond guaranteed Ireland at least bronze at the European Elite Women’s Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria today.

The Leeside southpaw beat Russia’s Oksana Trofimova to book her place in Tuesday’s semi-finals versus Frenchwoman Maily Nicer.

Earlier today, Grainne Walsh and Moira McElliggot lost to Russian opponents in the feather and welter classes despite big performances, Walsh edged on a split.

Desmond, the last Irish boxer in the ring this afternoon, earned an unanimous decision – one judge gave her a 10-8 round – after four, two minute frames in the Bulgarian capital.

The Irish Youth Olympian, consistently finding the target with solid combinations in a hard-punching 75kg duel, was full value for her victory and joins Katie Taylor (six gold) and Clare Grace (1 bronze) as the third Irishwoman to medal at this level.

The Irish coaching staff hailed her performance, with head coach Zaur Antia saying she gave it everything and she’ll be aiming to upgrade the colour of her medal on Tuesday. Antia also praised the performances of Walsh and McElliggot.

Last month, Desmond, a World Youth silver medallist, became the first Irish boxer to win a medal (bronze) at the World University Championships in Thailand.

On Tuesday she’ll be aiming to become the only Irishwoman besides Taylor to reach a European Elite final.

European Women’s Championships Sofia, Bulgaria

(Last 16 bouts unless stated)

November 15th
54kg Dervla Duffy (Ireland) lost to Lacramiora Perijoc (Romania) 0-3

November 16th
48kg Lauren Hogan (Ireland) lost to Ekaterina Pinigiana (Russia) 0-3
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) beat Marija Petovic (Serbia) TKO3

November 17th
60kg Shauna O’Keeffe (Ireland) beat Aneta Rygielska (Poland) 3-0

November 18th
57kg Moira McElligott (Ireland) beat Sara Beram (Croatia) 3-0
64kg Kellie Harrington (Ireland) lost to Aleksandra Ordina (Russia) 1-2

November 19th
Q/Finals
60kg Shauna O’Keeffe (Ireland) lost to Daria Abramova (Russia) 0-3

November 20th
Q/Finals
57kg Moira McElligott (Ireland) lost to Natalya Samokhina (Russia) 0-3
69kg Grainne Walsh (Ireland) lost to Saadat Abdulaeva (Russia) 1-2
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) beat Oksana Trofimova (Russia) 3-0

November 22nd
S/Finals
75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) v Maily Nicar (France)

Irish Squad
48kg Lauren Hogan (St.Brigids Edenderry)
54kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart)
57kg Moira McElliggot (St Michael’s Athy)
60kg Shauna O’Keeffe (Clonmel)
64kg Kellie Harrington (Glasnevin)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans) (Bronze, at least)
Team manager: Noreen Glendening
Physio: Caoimhe Gilmore
Coaches: Zaur Antia, Eddie Bolger, Dmitri Dimitruc
R&J: Sadie Duffy

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie