Full Time Towards Tokyo for Christina Desmond

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Following a glorious comeback year, Christina Desmond is adamant that she is Ireland’s best welter and now wants to push on in 2020.

The Cork southpaw claimed her second National Elite title of the year on Friday night, overcoming friendly rival Gráinne Walsh on a 4-1 split.

After an under-the-radar 2018 as she secured herself a career with An Garda Síochána, Desmond exploded back into the boxing consciousness in February, dropping down to welter and edging reigning champ Walsh.

However, with Walsh winning bronze at the European Games during the summer, there was still plenty of debate over who should be pushed towards the Olympic qualifiers in London this March.

Desmond feels now that the debate is over.

“I’m not having any box-off – that was my box-off. If they want to pick me, they can pick me,” Desmond declared to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards.

“For me, there’s nothing going on behind closed doors, there’s no other fight, I’ve won both times this year – both on split decisions but both well enough.”

“It was for me, a big fight, but I didn’t take it like that, I went in with eyes open and just drove on but that was the fight. Hopefully that was enough.”

Looking over the fight with the ferocious Walsh, Desmond notes how “she came straight out of the blocks – I knew she would, going by [my] past fights with international opponents, that’s what got me at the World Championships. Tonight I circled her, held her for a while, I think I annoyed her a bit.”

“I knew the first round was close and I was sitting in the corner thinking ‘how the hell am I going to turn this around?’ because my backhand wasn’t landing, she knows it too well.”

“Thankfully, second round, I go”t my right hook going and, third round, I got my backhand going. Look, a win is a win. I know it was a split decision but I do feel I was the stronger boxer even though it was messy.”

The Olympics are the Fr Horgan’s fighter’s dream, although Desmond knows that her candle will temporarily need to be burned from just the one end.

A full-time public sector worker, Desmond is aware of the demands Elite sport places upon an athlete and wants to maximise her chances in 2020.

“I’m trying to do everything,” she admits.

“It’s hard, I work up to 60 hours a week and then I try to train. It’s very hard, it is, but, look, I wouldn’t be doing it unless I loved it and I do.”

“I love both things but I probably will have to make a decision, I’ll have to talk to a lot of people about it and if it’s a case that I make the Olympics it will be totally worth it. Hopefully everyone will be able to back me.”

“I’m very happy, I’m proud of myself. I’m after having a phenomenal year and hopefully, all going well, I’ll qualify for the Olympics – that’s where we all want to be.”


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