Gráinne Walsh determined to beat Desmond following bloody wake-up call


Gráinne Walsh left the National Stadium ring on Friday night covered in blood and promising to do better.

The Offaly welterweight won her National Elite Senior semi-final versus Gillian Duffy – a repeat of the 2017 decider – but was far from happy with her performance.

Things just didn’t click for Walsh on the night – and her nose starting to gush blood midway through didn’t help – but the EU Championships bronze medallist did enough to get the win.

However, Walsh knows she will have to perform much better this Saturday against Christina Desmond in what looks to be one of the fights of the night on TG4 – a guaranteed heavy-hitting war between the reigning 69kg champion and Best Boxer and a World class 75kg coming down.

Speaking immediately after her win over Duffy, a frustrated Walsh told Irish-Boxing.com that “that was not a good performance, I made hard work of that. I don’t know what it was, it’s a long time since I boxed at the Stadium.”

“I used to suffer bad with nosebleeds but I haven’t had one in a long time. I honestly don’t know what happened, I’ve gotten hit three times as hard as that and it’s not bled, it threw me off a bit but it’s no excuse, my head wasn’t there.”

“Fair dues to Gillian, we fought two years ago and she’s after improving a lot.”

The Sparticus puncher has prepared diligently and has pinpointed her main problem in boxing.

Walsh explained how “I just need to be more focused in my mind. My mind seems to be the thing that lets me down most of the time.”

“Physically, I’m strong and I’m hitting hard so I feel like I have the beatings of any of them on a strength level but, in terms of mentality, I just need to fine-tune.”

READ: Christina Desmond delighted to be back

While disappointed, Walsh was not despondent and noted how “I’m oozing with confidence now, that was a bad performance but it was a good warm-up fight.”

“I’m delighted that there were four in the weight so I got a fight before fighting Christina. Me and Christina used to be very close, it will be a good scrap.”

This last sentence would suggest a fall-out between the two big punchers but Walsh is quick to clarify.

“She hasn’t been on the team for the last year so we haven’t been in touch. It’s easy to be friends with people when you’re living with them and training with them.”

“We just lost touch over the last year while she was out,” she adds before recalling their previous meeting in the final of the 2013 Intermediates, won by Desmond.

“We had a final a couple of years ago but I’m a different fighter now,” promised a confident Walsh.

“I’ve been training in the High Performance for the last three years, Christina’s taken a year out, I don’t know what way she has been training, but for me I feel more than confident that I have the beating of her.”

“I’m the sharper fighter. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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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