Irish Eyes Are Smiling in Sofia as Ginty and Desmond Defeat Bulgarian and Russian Favourites in Sofia by Michael O’Neill

Boxing (Christine Desmond)
Photo:  Christina Desmond /  Photo: by John Delea

Earlier we brought you news of a fine win for U.S.A Boxing’s Martha Fabela on the fourth day of the 2014 AIBA World Youth Championships (incorporating the only 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic qualifier) held at the Armeec Arena in Downtown Sofia, Bulgaria. Now we bring you news of the rest of the day’s news from the Bulgarian capital .

The winners of the fourth competition day at the AIBA Youth World Championships advanced to the last 16 in Sofia, moving one step closer to a medal position. It was a day when ‘Irish Eyes Were Smiling’ following two excellent performances from Mayo’s Ciara Ginty who boxes out of the Geesala Club and from Macroom, County Cork’s Christina Desmond both against more fancied opponents from host nation Bulgaria and the mighty Russians respectively.

Photo: Ciara Ginty

 Ginty overcame the Bulgarian favourite, Nikol Mladenova coming from behind to take a unanimous victory whilst Christine Desmond led from start to finish against the top Russian and one of the favourites for the Gold, Ekaterina Serova, also on a unanimous decision.

“Ciara went in as a world junior champion and showed what she is made of against a Bulgarian opponent in Bulgaria. Christina was top class, absolutely brilliant performance,” said Irish team manager Liam Brereton.

”We’re delighted with the performances today, he told IABA P.R.O   Bernard O’Neill.

Equally delighted was Ginty’s club coach, Pat McDonagh from the Geesala club, who travelled to Bulgaria to support his boxer albeit not part of Team Ireland’s Management at this tournament. Speaking to a delighted McDonagh said that ‘She started slowly but found her range in the second and dominated in the last two. A very good win over the Bulgarian national champ”. Next up is Russian titleholder, Anastasia Nesmiyanova.

In the 75kg weight division, Christine Desmond shocked not only her Russian opponent but also the gathered media as many had tipped to take the title this year. Christine and her twin brother Michael have dominated Irish school and youth boxing in recent years  and indeed she is an all-round sportswoman having excelled at Road Bowling as well as at Ladies Gaelic Football in the Muskerry Gaeltacht region.

A very fluent speaker of the Gaelic language, Christina like Ciara is one to watch for the future. Equally Belfast’s Kristina O’Hara is one of whom much will be heard in future albeit she went out here in the previous round to the excellent and vastly more experienced Crystal Barker of Great Britain.

Crystal is also a member of the Team GB Elite Development squad for Rio 2016 and regularly spars with Nicola Adams, Lisa Whiteside and Natasha Jonas – and with the male boxers – at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

If the Irish team is to progress further at International level then the IABA simply MUST provide similar opportunities in the future for Irish women, at all levels as they do for the men.   Finally let us hear how the AIBA’s own team in Sofia saw the day’s events especially their review of the main events from the women’s programme Additional reporting courtesy of

Ireland’s AIBA Junior World Champion Ciara Ginty is being tipped as the next Katie Taylor, and the Lightweight class (60 kg) star was named the AIBA Woman Junior Boxer of the Year in 2013.The 17-year-old faced a tough clash with home favourite Nikol Mladenova in Sofia, with the Bulgarian Youth National Champion putting   up a brave, but losing effort. Mladenova was effective in the first round, but Ginty only grew stronger, controlling the rest of the fight with ease, leading to her hand being raised at the end of the bout. Although Ginty is perhaps the stand out star of the Irish side, her teammate Christina Desmond won a silver medal in the last edition of the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships. Following that accolade, she moved up to the Middleweight class (75 kg) in anticipation of the impending Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics.  Her first opponent in Sofia was Russia’s European Junior Champion Ekaterina Serova, who was strongly tipped for success in the championships.  Desmond started the fight the better, and though Serova rallied in the third round, it was the Irish boxer who proved victorious in a relatively surprising contest.

Surprises of the day?

Nigeria’s Mutiat Adebayo has won five national level tournaments in the last three years, but the young African boxer had never previously fought out of her home country.

Adebayo is not yet 17, and had an ominous start to the competition against Bulgaria’s most experienced Youth female boxer Nadezhda Orlinova, a relative veteran who took part in the 2013 AIBA Women’s Junior World Championships in Albena.

The Nigerian boxer was undaunted however, and her strong punches and quick jabs hit the mark often, leading to victory, and Bulgaria’s first defeat of the competition.

Ones to watch:

Japan’s AIBA Junior World Champion Kasumi Saeki is one of the overall favourites of the female Flyweight class (51 kg). The Japanese National Champion began boxing in 2008 and has lost only two contests in her career so far.  The Osaka High School student is deceptively powerful, and did not waste time in her match against South Africa’s Youth National Champion Didi Nthabiseng.Saeki was devastating, reigning down powerful punches as she knocked down her African rival three times in the first round, leading to the Turkish referee stopping the bout after just eighty seconds.  s Youth World Championships bronze medallist Alua Balkybekova trains in the southern part of the country, but her career prospects are definitely pointing north.  s first victory on Day 4, and advanced to the next preliminary round.

Quote of the day via Social Media:

“I beat Russia’s favourite Ekaterina Serova by unanimous decision today. I am very happy with the way I boxed in my opening contest in Sofia. Up again tomorrow against Kosovo’s Albulena Gubetini for a place in the quarter-finals. Thanks for all the support, wishing my teammates the best of luck” tomorrow,” said Christina Desmond of Ireland shortly after her amazing triumph over the top Russian boxer. Tomorrow’s program The second round of the preliminaries on Friday will be one of the longest competition days in the AIBA Youth World Championships in Sofia.

Link here to Friday’s complete programme in the Bulgarian capital


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