Christina Desmond – “I’m up there with the best of them”

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The Olympics gave further proof to Christina Desmond that she belongs at the top of the sport.

The Cork Woman, who is currently fighting at middleweight due to a lack of an Olympic spot for women at welterweight, this year defeated Rio 75kg silver medalist Noucho Fontijn of the Netherlands.

Desmond stunned the Oranje boxer at the European Olympic qualifiers in Turkey earlier this April with a career-best performance which overwhelmed the World number 2 – although Dutch boxing commentators strongly contested the majority-decision result.

Fontijn recovered from that loss to qualify for Rio via the World Championships in Kazakhstan. Here she reached the final. where she was beaten by London 2012 champion Claressa Shields of the USA – who then beat her again in the Olympic decider last weekend in Brazil.

Shields also won the inaugural Val Barker Best Boxer Award for female boxers.

Desmond, of Fr Horgan’s BC now has her sights set on Tokyo 2020 – and her victory over the Dutch puncher is a real confidence booster.

She told the Cork Evening Echo that “I’m up there with the best of them and I was happy to see her win a medal at the Olympics.”

“I felt she was going to beat the Chinese girl in the semi finals as she had beaten her a few times before.”

“But Shields was the London 2012 champion and that was always going to be a difficult fight for her.”

“I’m happy enough with my performances this year. If results had gone my way it could have been me at the Rio Olympics.”

Still just 20,  the Macroom boxer represented Ireland at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, where she lost a bronze medal box-off (at present, only one bronze medal per weight is handed out at the Youth Olympics), and has also won World Youth Championships silver in 2013

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: [email protected]