‘A great advert for women’s boxing’: Agony for Ebanie as ‘Blonde Bomber’ Bridges suffers bruising first loss to Shannon Courtenay
Ebanie Bridges insisted she had done everything she could after enduring shocking bruising in an unsuccessful bid for the WBA female bantamweight title, losing by unanimous decision against British sensation Shannon Courtenay.
Hard-hitting Courtenay had warned that Bridges preferred to fight than talk during a typically unusual build-up involving the free-spirited Australian, who seemed to strip off provocatively at the weigh-in and bizarrely appeared to try to gift her rival a pair of her father's underpants as a peace offering.
A back-and-forth bout at the Copper Box in London – described as a "cracking scrap" by promoter Eddie Hearn – left Bridges with pronounced swelling over her left eye in the prelude to Conor Benn's eye-catching first-round victory against Colombian Samuel Vargas.
Emotional Courtenay won by six rounds on two cards and three rounds on the other, adding that she had "turned her life around" from her previous party lifestyle.
"I feel like women's boxing needs more eyes on the sport," Bridges had urged before the bout, partly explaining why she has worn lingerie to weigh-ins in the past.
"We need to do whatever we can. This same way I've got noticed is the same way I'm getting this fight noticed.
"If we can get as many people as possible to watch the fight, then Shannon and I can show to a more diverse number of viewers that women can fight.
"Winning this world title will show people you don't have to be like everybody else to achieve these goals."
An unconvinced Courtenay had retorted: "I can understand why she's saying she wants to get more eyes on the sport but I want to get more viewers for the correct reasons.
"[Irish two-weight world champion] Katie Taylor didn't work her backside off to pave the way for women like Ebanie and me to talk about underwear.
What a fight!!! Got SC one round up going into the last. Fair play to both women, what a fight! #CourtenayBridges— Dave Coldwell (@davidcoldwell) April 10, 2021
👏 Shannon Courtenay beats Ebanie Bridges by unanimous decision to claim the WBA bantamweight world title. For all the pre-fight talk being focussed on other topics, the fight itself ended up delivering really good action in the ring.— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) April 10, 2021
"I've got a 14-year-old sister, my coaches have daughters. I want to be a good role model and show them that hard work and motivation gets you here – not flaunting your body."
Many had feared that Bridges' sight was being impeded by her eye injury towards the end of the fight. "What can I say?" she asked afterwards, addressing her following of almost 53,000 on Twitter.
"I didn’t get the win but I fought my heart out. I couldn't see for the last three rounds but I have no quit in me.
What can I say, I didn’t get the W, but I fought my heart out, I cudnt c 4 the last 3rnds, but I have no quit in me!Congrats to shanny it takes 2 to tango & I really hope we did wat I said we wud & showed that pretty girls fight hard too! & I hope it was entertaining 4 every1❤️— Blonde Bomber 🥊💣💁🏼♀️😈 (@EbanieBridges) April 10, 2021
Big thank you to ALL MY FANS AND EVERYONE WHO TUNED IN!! Love everyone pic.twitter.com/0V2Pvbi6gE— Blonde Bomber 🥊💣💁🏼♀️😈 (@EbanieBridges) April 10, 2021
"Congrats to Shanny. It takes two to tango and I really hope we did what I said we would and showed that pretty girls fight hard too.
"I hope it was entertaining for everyone. Big thank you to all my fans and everyone who tuned in. Love everyone."
Courtenay's first outing of the year improved her professional record to seven wins from eight fights.Also on rt.com ‘Absolutely mental’: Boxing fans in uproar as ‘Blonde Bomber’ Bridges gifted world title shot days after beating 45yo veteran