Kristina O’Hara opened the show in scintillating fashion on Friday night at the National Elite Senior Championships.
The Belfast woman claimed the first title of the evening and the first of her career, winning the Elite Senior light flyweight crown with a destructive win over Shannon Sweeney.
Always in control, O’Hara landed numerous big shots, forced a standing count, and bloodied the nose of the Mayo boxer en-route to a unanimous decision win.
Afterwards the St John Bosco slugger described how “it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s every boxer’s dream to be champion of Ireland. It’s unbelievable, I feel brilliant, so proud.”
“You have a game plan going in, and my game plan was to keep her under pressure the whole fight and up the gears when you have to. I was fit enough for the three threes, I’m feeling brilliant, flying through them”
O’Hara was defeated in the 2015 flyweight final and took a year out to develop physically ad technically as well as move down in weight, and she noted how “it’s paid off, big time.”
“I’ve changed clubs from the Emerald to John Bosco, and I have to give my respects to Harry Murray, he was my first coach, he encouraged me every day, he got me in the gym every day. He’s the reason I won this Irish title.”
“But, of course, I have to thank my coaches – my best friend, my life partner, Ger McCafferty, my coach, my everything, and all the coaches at St John Bosco, all the people for the spars.”
With no European or World Championships for women this year, O’Hara has her sights set on Australia next year – where she feels she has the ability to bring home gold from the Gold Coast
“The Commonwealth Games are next year,” she outlined. “We’ll go for them at 51kg, because there’s no 48kg. The way I’m feeling now, I’ll beat anyone in the world. I’ll continue boxing at 48kg until the Ulster Seniors in September. I’ll train hard for them now.”
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: