Ebanie Bridges: Born Fighter
Just over a year ago, outside of the hardcore boxing fan, Ebanie Bridges would have been an unfamiliar name. But things are very different now.
The Australian has always been in control of her own destiny, a belief that nobody else will make things happen for you. Bridges knows how to play the game, how to make things happen, very much aware that you need to get your name out there, build a following, build a brand and get noticed.
Bridges was relentless in 2020, the world may have stopped, she did the opposite. Using her own brand of self-promotion, incredibly active on social media, the grind of interview after interview, very quickly Bridges was heard. Having an understanding that boxing is like any other business, you have to invest in it to be successful, Bridges understood what she needed to do to avoid being lost in the crowd.
Eddie Hearn noticed, and he made his move to match Bridges with Rachel Ball for the vacant WBA bantamweight title late last year. But with her training camp virtually complete, Bridges injured her shoulder and the fight was cancelled. Ball stayed on the card and won and will rematch Shannon Courtenay for the still vacant world title in April.
Bridges (4-0) with her rehabilitation now behind her, makes her return to the ring this weekend in Australia against Carol Earl. Her opponent with an uninspiring 3-3-1 record isn’t expected to cause Bridges too much trouble. But for the potential world title challenger, it is a fight of the utmost importance. Losing would be disastrous, those world title hopes would be dead in the water. Bridges has to win and look impressive in doing so.
There will be ring rust from a prolonged absence from the ring, no fight since last February, the rounds gained on Saturday will benefit her for what lies ahead. Hearn has said Bridges will face the winner of Ball/Courtenay, Saturday night is her golden ticket to her moment of truth.
There is a misconception about Bridges, a failure to understand what drives her. Bridges has always had a life of trying to change stereotypes, an impressive work ethic that gets lost when her critics want to push a certain narrative about her.
Inside and outside of the ring Bridges is and always has been a born fighter, and she has spoken about feeling like a caged tiger in the build-up to her fight with Earl. The frustrations of the past year will be unleashed, and not just on her opponent. The naysayers will be lying in wait for her to fall, you get the impression Bridges will enjoy proving them wrong in 2021.
Saturday night is just the beginning for Bridges, a trip to England and a world title fight is her reward for the expected victory. Bridges might have everything to lose, but equally, everything to gain.
It’s not just about earning an opportunity, Bridges wants more, a born fighter a born winner. When I first interviewed her early last year, Bridges told me:
“If I am going for a world title I am going there to win it.”
Taking part is not enough for Bridges, talk of destroying anything in her path, tells you everything about her winning mentality and impressive self-belief. Bridges has said in the past that she is a prime example of having no excuses, if you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes. The groundwork has been laid, and in many ways, Saturday night is the start of the serious end of the journey.