LIMERICK’S Catherine Costigan continued her success story with victory against Spanish fighter Irene Cabello Rivera in Cage Warriors 65 at The Helix in Dublin on Saturday March 1.
She took the honours after emerging on the right side of a split decision by the judges in a highly competitive fight to retain her undefeated status.
Catherine acknowledged that she had been given a very tough contest from her opponent, although she knew going into the third and final round that she held the upper hand.
“She surprised me in round one and she was a nice, strong competitor. I made a few tactical errors but I managed to put these right. I worked her out and scored a takedown.
“In round two she caught me in a hold but I knew she wasn’t going to finish me. Some people said to me afterwards they thought I was in trouble but she wasn’t going to break me.
“By the time round three started I looked over and I could see that she was gone. [My coaches] told me to keep going and to give it everything and I did the things that I should have done more of in the first two rounds.”
It was a highly satisfying triumph for Catherine, although she took a step back from the euphoria to place it in a wider context.
“I was proud to have won and to have taken everything she gave me. It’s always a big moment when I win and this is another step towards what will hopefully be a world title. It’s another positive step on the way.”
Another major positive for Catherine to take from Saturday 1 was the volume of support she received and the backing of loyal followers.
“Saturday night was absolutely electric. About 40 girls travelled up from home to cheer me on and I could hear them screaming from the front throughout the fight. It was a huge joy to win, for me and for my fans. The supporters who travelled to Dublin are true friends.
“I got some amazing support in the build-up to the fight from people on Twitter and facebook. They really got behind me and the only way I’m going to get to the top is with that support.”
Catherine now plans to take a well-deserved short break from combat, but when she returns training, it will be to fulfil a long-held dream.
“I need a break and a bit of chill time, but soon I’ll be training with Lucia Rijker and it’s a dream come true to train with her. She’s a top fighter and she was the one who knocked out Hilary Swank’s character in ‘Million Dollar Baby’. I just hope she doesn’t do the same to me!”