'I started boxing when I was 11 to get fit for GAA and fell in love with the sport'

'I started boxing when I was 11 to get fit for GAA and fell in love with the sport'
Christina Desmond celebrates her win. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

CORK boxing hero Christina Desmond recently captured the Elite senior title after she defeated reigning champion Grainne Walsh following a great title decider at the National Stadium.

The Cill na Martra native produced a brilliant display which enabled her to secure the Elite senior title for the third time in her career. She was thrilled with her hard-fought win.

“The win was one of my most memorable and favourite win in Ireland. Grainne is a very good girl. She is a very dedicated and exceptional fighter.

“I always knew it was going to be tough and that it could go in anyone’s favour,” declared the Cork sports star.

Despite her great win, Christina admits she was not pleased with some aspects of her performance.

“I felt my performance could have been better, but it was a fight where I had to be cautious and not let loose too much.

“It was very tactical throughout. The atmosphere was incredible. I don’t really like crowds, especially home crowds, but it was class and I enjoyed the aftermath of my win.”

Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The Fr Horgan’s boxer endured an injury-hit season in 2018 which greatly curtailed her boxing ambitions. Christina has worked hard to become the top welterweight boxer in Ireland once again.

“I am delighted to be back. I tore the ligaments in my knee whilst training a week before the senior championships last year.

“It was a very frustrating time for me, but it couldn’t have come at a better time as it gave me the chance to finish my honours degree and work on my strength and fitness.

“The break has given me a proper base now and the injuries have all healed very very well.

“It was my first major injury, so in a way I’ve been lucky. I had not given my body enough time off, so now I realise the importance of getting maximum rest and recovery.”

Following her long lay-off due to her injury, Christina admits she was feeling very nervous and apprehensive prior to her championship title bout against Grainne Walsh.

Christina has also dropped down once again to welterweight level. She knew, however, her preparations had been perfect.

“I am always very nervous, regardless how big the fight is or not. Nerves are good, if I’m not nervous I won’t preform. I couldn’t wait for it to be over being honest, as I felt the fight had been built up to the last.

“I had the work put in and I felt strong and confident at the weight, so I was satisfied and happy.”

Christina is at present balancing her boxing ambitions with college in Templemore Garda College. She admits it is tough, but she is gearing up for a big year from a boxing perspective. She maintains a strict training regime all through the year.

“I am in the Garda College at present. I joined the guards last July. It is very tough, balancing the two together, especially trying to train full-time with the amount of work due.

“Overall, I have enjoyed my time in Templemore. I am finishing college at the moment, but I am still training.

“I will be back training full-time very soon once again. I will be undergoing a very strict training regime as it is a big year ahead.

“On a typical week, I train six days a week, twice a day. This would consist of running sessions, boxing sessions, strength and conditioning sessions and recovery sessions.

“A typical session would last just over the hour to two hours.”

Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The boxing star was always a keen sports enthusiast growing up. She only took up boxing at the age of 11 when she joined her local club, Macroom Boxing Club.

She fell in love with the sport instantly.

“I began boxing when I was 11 to keep up my fitness for Gaelic football initially. I joined my local club along with my twin brother, as I had to follow everything he did.

“I soon fell in love with it and had my first fight when I was 13. It was so good to get in the ring by yourself. It is very empowering.

“It makes winning all that sweeter. Macroom Boxing Club was my first club. I then moved to Father Horgan’s Boxing Club, who are based in Churchfield, Cork.

“I tried every sport growing up. Gaelic football, swimming, Irish dancing, taekwondo.

“I tormented my parents. I always loved sport and I would have to try everything my twin brother Michael did.

“My family were never into boxing, we were the first in our family to get involved. They are all into it now.”

Christina would encourage a lot more young people to take up boxing as it instils discipline and respect into so many lives. She credits boxing with providing her so much guidance in her life.

“Boxing is a very disciplined sport. It is a great sport.

“You need to have a lot of dedication and drive to succeed. It is something everyone needs to learn.

“Boxing has shaped my life and I wouldn’t have been successful in the rest of my life without it.

“It is not just boxing that can do this, any sport can do it. It is so important for someone to have an active hobby.

“It is very important to keep active and fit, no matter how hard life can get.”

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