Ebanie Bridges: “Until I am dead I am going to make the most of every single minute.”
Ebanie Bridges has finally landed in the UK, the months of self-promoting has delivered the desired result. Already she is being heard, to the surprise of nobody.
Some may heavily critique, be selective on what they see or read, preconceived opinions are hard to get past. The jury sometimes doesn’t always consider all the evidence before reaching their verdict. Judge, criticise, you could just enjoy the ride.
This Saturday, Bridges faces her moment of truth in London, Shannon Courtenay the bitter rival, lies in wait. The fire will be stoked, not that the fuse needs to be reignited in this case. The heat is simmering, words have been said, the confinement of a fight week bubble won’t in any way, defuse the hostilities.
Make no mistake, Courtenay and Bridges don’t like each other. It’s one of the few things they will agree on. For both, punching each other in the face will be pleasure not work. Even the customary pre-fight fist bump, might carry a little more venom than usual. The obligatory often tiresome eye ball ritual before the first bell will be a little colder than normal.
Bridges despite her undoubted popularity, especially with British fans, still gets her share of critics. The lingerie model references don’t help, in many ways it is short-sighted. Bridges is far more than that.
There has been a lifetime of fighting, a life of struggle, her youth had dark times and plenty of them, but Bridges came out the other side, she has a knack of overcoming odds. A life turned around, a second chance. Closure for Bridges is moving forward not looking back.
Those early troubles formed the go and get attitude she has today:
“I know I wasted a fraction of my life that I know I won’t get back. Until I am dead I am going to make the most of every single minute.”
Combat sports were there at an early age, even on the streets, before a late switch to concentrate on boxing. Bridges likes to fight, flying fists are nothing new. A tough upbringing changes you, it makes you.
The never stop work ethic has seen Bridges thrive in many areas, as a mechanic and now a maths teacher in her life beyond the ropes. Changing stereotypes is something Bridges passionately aspires to do:
“They say a pretty girl like me shouldn’t do mechanics, why do you want to do bodybuilding, that’s for girls who look like men. Why do you wanna do boxing, that’s for girls who look like men. Why, why is it for girls who look like men. Why can’t you be pretty, why can’t you be feminine and still fight? Why can’t you promote your femininity and your appearance and be proud of it? Why can’t you have good body confidence and instil that confidence in yourself and your children.”
Bridges wants to change a narrative that should already be lost in time and consign it to history once and for all. Look how you want and do what you want. You don’t have to look a certain way to be able to fight, times change, opinions should also.
At 34, Bridges hasn’t got time to waste, she knew she had to make waves to get herself noticed, nobody gives you anything in life, the Australian went out and got what she wanted. It’s no exaggeration to say that the most-talked about fight on Saturday night is Courtenay vs Bridges, and that is largely down to Bridges. The life and soul of any party.
Before the opponent difficulties, how many people even knew Savannah Marshall was on the card, a fighter who could be fighting the self-proclaimed GWOAT next, possibly on the undercard of the biggest fight in many years. There are lessons to be learned here, some painful.
A promoter’s dream, this week Bridges is in her element, the born entertainer will entertain and in abundance. But cut Bridges open, a born fighter will emerge. Question many things, but you can’t question how hard Bridges works. If people can’t see the grind, how hard she works at her craft, maybe look a little harder.
Bridges took the fight at short notice straight after another fight, excuses could have been made, instead she made the fight. Win lose or draw, Bridges will leave no doubt to what she is about.
The vacant WBA bantamweight title will be on the line in London, for both fighters it means everything. For the rest of the division, it’s a start, a new beginning that they will be part of in time, and profit from.
Saturday night will tell us plenty, a win for either fighter changes many things. The difference between winning and losing might never be more apparent. The hate might even turn to mutual respect, even if any words of that nature will come by way of gritted teeth. That respect will be hard-earned.
Some potential challengers for the same world title might understandably have at least some semblance of resentment that it is not their time to shine on Saturday night. But because of the eyes that Courtenay and Bridges will bring to their sport, they too will benefit in the months ahead, they just need a little patience for now. Their time will come.
Women’s boxing is still developing, to continue the progress sometimes you need something a little different, Bridges is most certainly that, right now her sport needs her to help it move forward. In time, even Shannon Courtenay might have to accept that.
There is no doubt Bridges can fight, to what level, Courtenay will show us. A definitive fight in many different ways.