20 questions with Cork boxer Christina Desmond

Gifted Muskerry athlete picked up a silver medal this year at the European Championships and still dreams of fighting at the Olympics
20 questions with Cork boxer Christina Desmond

Irish medallists: Christina Desmond, Kellie Harington and Michaela Walsh during the EUBC Women's European Boxing Championships 2022. Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

RECENTLY, Cork boxer Christina Desmond returned from the European Championships with a silver medal.

She narrowly lost out on gold, losing the final on a split decision but winning any medal, not to mind silver, was a major achievement.

Christina was only called up to the Irish team late on when another boxer cried of injured and she went into the championship with little or no training under her belt. But she took it fight by fight and as Christina said she was under no pressure as being a late call-up there were no expectations for her to medal.

However, Christina showed her class and talent to make the final and on another day the result could have gone her way.

Rory Noonan, The Echo presents boxer Christina Desmond, with The Echo Women in Sport monthly award. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Rory Noonan, The Echo presents boxer Christina Desmond, with The Echo Women in Sport monthly award. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

What age are you?

I am 26.

When did you start boxing?

I started boxing when I was 11, I followed my twin brother Michael to training.

What is your favourite venue to compete in?

I rather compete abroad, I hate boxing in Ireland. Obviously, some day I would like to compete in Cork again.

What other sports did you play growing up?

I used to do Gaelic Football, swimming, basketball and Irish dancing if you can call that a sport.

Who were the major influences on your sporting career?

The major influences in my sporting career are my family. I train and compete to do them proud.

Who are your sporting heroes, then and now?

My sporting heroes growing up were Briege Corkery and all of the Cork senior ladies football team – absolute legends. My sporting heroes now are those I have got to share a team with - Kelly Harrington and Katie Taylor. My brother is also a major hero. He plays Gaelic football with my local GAA club Cill na Martra but I am his biggest fan.

Did you have a fork-in-the-road moment where you might have gone a different route?

I still have fork-in-the-road moments to be honest. But, yes, I was given the choice of boxing or Irish dancing as they were clashing with each other and I chose boxing.

What was the most memorable game you attended?

The Cork v Down All-Ireland final at Croke Park in 2010. In boxing, Michael Conlon’s debut in Madison Sq. Gardens, New York.

What was your biggest sporting disappointment?

Narrowly missing out on both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics on split decisions.

Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Who was your toughest opponent?

My toughest opponent is Nocuhka Fontjin from the Netherlands – two-time silver medallist, hated sparring with her and I beat her in the qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics when I was only 19 years old. She was number one in the world at that time.

What are the most important traits in your sport?

The most important trait for me is that boxing has people from all backgrounds, it does not matter if you are rich or poor or what beliefs you may have, whether they are political or cultural, we are all the same.

What advice would you give young boxers starting out?

Enjoy it, don’t take it too seriously, and take every opportunity that’s put in front of you.

If you could go to any sporting event what would it be?

If I am not competing – Formula 1.

If you could have taken part in any historical sporting event, what would it have been?

The first time women boxed in the Olympics in 2012.

What movies and TV shows are you streaming?

Honestly, streaming nothing at the moment. I don’t have much spare time between training and working – I know I’m very boring!

What is on your Spotify playlist?

My Spotify playlist is so mixed, my baby sister Rachel kills me, you could be listening to Christy Moore one minute, Garth Brooks the next or anything from the 90s to now.

What is your favourite book?

I don’t read too often but I enjoy reading autobiographies, not even on sporting people. I recently read Amy Dunne's book on her trauma years ago re abortion – books like these make me really think about our government and our laws, especially around women’s rights.

Who do you enjoy following on social media?

Most influencers annoy me, to be honest. I enjoy following my friends/ family and other sporting people. Social media has very much ruined so much for young girls and have left them with the pressures of having a picture-perfect life. The spotlight should be on real women whether they be sporting women or not. The rewards should be given for this not to the girls who spend three hours photoshopping a picture.

What is your cheat meal when you're not training?

I have plenty of cheat meals! I love cooking myself so if this is the case – steak, homemade chips, garden peas, curry sauce, or peppercorn sauce and if I am getting takeaway it has to be a KC’s in Douglas.

What are your sporting goals from here?

I hope to make it to the next Olympics – that’s everyone’s goal. 

Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Picture: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Other than that I just want to promote and compete at any competition I can whilst holding down a job. I believe that boxing in Ireland does not give a solid pathway for athletes coming through. I would like to show young men and women that it is important to have a career/degree behind you. I have achieved both and in my opinion, I believe they should all be given that opportunity.

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