CHRISTINA Desmond was celebrating on the double at Dublin’s National Stadium on Saturday night.
The Macroom southpaw beat defending champion Grainne Walsh on a 3-2 split decision to claim the Irish Elite welterweight title and also scoop the Best Female Boxer Award at the home of Irish boxing.
But there was a disappointment for Mayfield BC light-heavy Tommy Hyde after he dropped a 4-1 split verdict in the 81kg final to Galway southpaw Thomas O’Toole.
Walsh, who took home the Best Female Boxer Award in 2018, was industrious throughout Saturday’s three-rounder. but Desmond’s backhand was regularly finding the target in the opening two rounds.
Walsh, going for broke in the final frame, battered away at the points deficit, but Desmond, who claimed her last two Elite belts on walkovers, had enough in the bank to become the first Cork boxer since Eanna Falvey (St Colman’s BC) to win an Elite belt in the ring since 2002.
The women’s welterweight division has a double significance this year as it's one of the new Olympic limits for females.
“I was very happy with the first and second rounds. The third round I might have been a bit shocked. A win is a win and I’m happy with it, said Desmond.
“Grainne is a very good girl, she put up a great fight. I thought I was the stronger boxer on the night so I’m very happy.
“ I don’t know where I’m going to go from here but this is the first step, added Desmond in relation to the Olympic qualifiers later this year.
“I put the pressure on in the third (coach Tom Power who was working Desomd's corner with Micky Power, could be clearly heard telling Desmond to keep the pressure on) but she did as well. It got a bit scrappy.
“But I felt I had the cleaner shots throughout the fight, she didn’t hurt me at all, added Desmond, who hasn’t been counting up how many Irish titles she has won at underage level and now Elite.
“I think it’s 16? I’m not actually sure, that’s a tough one,“ pondered Desmond, who is now in the driving seat for selection for the World Elite Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Siberia in October.
Meanwhile, Hyde was crestfallen after his reversal to O’Toole but vowed to bounce back.
The Mayfield BC man walked down his opponent and delivered his shots for most of the fight but the more industrious Connaught southpaw, awkward and unorthodox throughout, consistently found the target in all three rounds.
“I’m very disappointed. I came to win this no matter who was here. It didn’t go my way tonight but my day will come,” said Hyde.
Seventeen finals were decided on Saturday evening with Munster taking home two belts courtesy of Desmond and Dean Gardiner (Tipperary).