Ebanie Bridges: No World Title, But She Will Return
Ebanie Bridges came to England with her own brand of entertainment, and despite not leaving with a world title, she will be back to try again.
The talk about lingerie got the headlines pre-fight, but post-fight, it should only be about the fight. Bridges and Shannon Courtenay gave everything and a little bit more in their quest for the vacant WBA bantamweight title. The title meant plenty, their battle for personal supremacy probably meant a little more. Harsh words prior, respectful ones after. Boxing has a way of doing that.
Both spilt blood, Bridges had to fight through blindness in one eye courtesy of a grotesque swelling over her left eye. A badge of honour that leaves no doubt that the Australian is a fighter through and through.
There was no quit in Bridges, she could have made excuses not to take the fight on 4 weeks notice, she had an excuse to pull out when the swelling rendered her a one-eyed fighter. On both occasions, she just got on with it, when opportunity knocks, you leave with no regrets. Bridges has done that. Having a resume of having to fight her entire life, Bridges wasn’t about to be found wanting now.
All the lingerie references rarely reported that Bridges made her own choices. She knew without the amateur pedigree of others, she had to use other methods to get noticed. Many won’t like, but Bridges wasn’t forced into anything, her brand of fun, banter and self-promotion achieved what it was designed to do. Everything around it was taken far too seriously. You can be different without being controversial.
Bridges can fight, and we now know how well. Unproven and untested before her fight on Saturday, any lingering doubts were removed against Bridges.
Critical disdain at the fight being for a world title fight wasn’t without justification, but the criticism should be aimed at those that sanction, not those that take life-changing opportunities. There have been far worse fights for world titles, Saturday was a start for their division and another step in the right direction for their sport.
The fight was brutal and engrossing, it swung one way then the other, victory was never secure for either fighter. Both had their moments, and each had to survive some very uncomfortable periods. The judges yet again somehow came up with scorecards that had little resemblance to how most saw the fight. Two cards had Bridges only winning two rounds, which defies belief. Courtenay deserved the win, but it was a win of fine margins. Every little bit of success was hard-earned, nothing given, nobody will complain if we get to see it again. It was about desire, heart and guts, neither fighter lacked in those areas. Strip away all the headlines prior, it was always going to be this kind of fight, but it reached heights few expected. The perfect fight to convince many.
We have seen many great female fights in recent times, Courtenay and Bridges gave us another. Was it the best ever, it would certainly go in the conversation. Taylor-Persoon, Harper-Jonas, we now have another to add to the list.
Despite all the pre-fight doubts, Bridges can go back to Australia feeling extremely proud of her contribution. She made the show and came very close to stealing it.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing