‘It’s always going to be a close fight’ – Christina Desmond admits there is nothing between her and fellow finalist Walsh

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Christina Desmond isn’t looking into the fact she has won all of her National Elite Championships meetings with Gráinne Walsh.

The Cork fighter feels there is very little between the two 69kg talents, who have proven themselves on the international stage in 2019, ahead of their meeting in an eagerly anticipated National Elite Championship decider this coming Friday night.

Desmond points out, while it may be in her favour in terms of results, Walsh has managed to get the better of her in the sparring ring – and she is adamant anytime the pair fight it will be close.

“I have been lucky enough to win each encounter. We’ve had some cracking spars,” Desmond told Irish-boxing.com.

“Some favoring me, and some favoring her. It’s always going to be a close fight,” she adds before suggesting she can’t really draw on her past Walsh experiences to help her in the National Stadium this weekend.

“Aw each spar and fight can be different, but I have full faith in my coach, Tom Power. I trust him to be able to guide me as best he can throughout the fight. We’ll take it round by round. I won’t make a prediction, as I said it’s going to be close. All I’m looking for is s good performance.”

The meeting of the European Championship and European Games bronze medal winners is one of Friday’s more eagerly anticipated deciders.

Not only is it two International class operators, who more often than not entertain, but there is a box-off feel to the bout.

Desmond would win the 2019 final in February just gone but it would be Walsh who has medalled internationally this year with bronze at the European Games.

Unlike some other Olympic weights across the spectrum there will be little doubt as to who is the best in country at welterweight by the time these two are done.

It means there will be a certain amount of hype surrounding the clash, but it’s not a narrative Desmond is keen to feed.

“I don’t really buy into any of that. I don’t like when people make it all about the rivalry, at the end of the day myself and Gráinne are too good boxers who just happened to be in the weight category. I really just hope for a good performance,” she adds before dismissing any suggestion there may be tension between the High Performance team mates leading into the final.

“There is no bad blood between myself and Gráinne. She’s a very very talented girl and trains very hard. I wish her the best of luck.”

Victory for Desmond on the South Circular Road this weekend would cap off a hard but rewarding year for the Munster favourite.

After a sabbatical she returned in February to claim the Irish title she defends Friday, before going on to win European Championships bronze and come within touching distance of a world medal – all while working full time.

“Its tough – it’s been a busy year, I’m working full time and boxing side of it it’s been competition after competition with very little down time. It’s very hard to peak every time. Still, I am very happy with the year I have had but I look forward to Friday night, I feel fit and ready so I’ll obviously go in to hopefully retain my title,” she continued before revealing she is proud of her 2019 innings regardless of Friday’s result.

“I’m proud of myself either way, I’ve come so far this year. I wasn’t boxing this time last year and weighed 10 kilos heavier then what I am now, I was focusing on my studies at the time. Now that I’m qualified and in full time employment I can continue with my boxing career. Since winning my Elites in February I’ve put my name on the international stage at 69kg and for me, I am very proud of that.”

dpg


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com