Bridges vs Connolly: Hugs, Handshakes & War
Ebanie Bridges and Bec Connolly are two perfect examples of what boxing can do. Lives saved, lives changed.
For Connolly, it brings survival. The last year has been incredibly hard. Work dried up, with little money incoming, the fight was to just put food on the table. Two fights under the Matchroom banner helped, without those fights the story could have been different.
Connolly also got a taste for the bright lights, the ambition to stay at the level intensified. A reluctance to return to the small hall scene, Connolly looked for a way back in.
The life of the away fighter is hard, fights taken at short notice switch the balance heavily one way. Connolly last fought in March against the highly-touted Ramla Ali. The call came late, with weight to lose, it was far from ideal. Connolly has been there many times before.
The resume of 3 wins and 9 defeats looks poor, but it hides plenty. Fighting the elite, sometimes at the wrong weight and at the wrong time, distorts the real picture.
Connolly, still chasing goals and titles, has campaigned for a return to the big show and targeted a certain Australian. It looked a hopeless quest at one time. The intended target looked to be on a different path. But Connolly has finally got her wish. Lady luck for once shined on Connolly. Work has picked up again as well as the restrictions ease, the smile that never leaves Connolly, beams a little brighter.
With a rare full camp, Connolly will fight Bridges on August 7th when Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp returns on a new home. They fight on week two, with DAZN now the UK platform of choice for Matchroom.
Bridges has made her name in the last year or so. Rather than sitting and wallowing in silence, Bridges was on a mission. Despite the criticism from some, her plan worked. But having made her name, she had to prove she could fight. Shannon Courtenay, despite beating Bridges, will still testify that she most certainly can.
Cruelly branded by some as nothing more than a gimmick, a novelty act and an imposter, Bridges more than proved her point. Even the haters had to give her that.
Courtenay and Bridges went to war in April, and in this observers view, served up one of the best female fights we have seen. But the Australian isn’t one to rest or be satisfied with platitudes. The aim is to win a world title, just being known or proving people wrong isn’t the end game. Bridges has sacrificed everything in pursuit of her dream. The family and her love life have been put on hold, phase two of the plan is now up and running. Bridges is currently training in Philadelphia, expect to see better than what we saw against Courtenay.
Bridges and Connolly is another fight that won’t fail to deliver. The styles will gel perfectly, and it will be a fight without the bitterness we saw with Courtenay vs Bridges.
Courtenay and Bridges despite the fighting respect, clearly don’t like each other. But with Connolly, Bridges will find a kindred spirit. They understand the struggles of life, they will find plenty to talk about and share.
The methods and the journey may differ, but they are both cut from the same cloth. Neither have been given much in life, everything has been earned the hard way. The pleasantries will be genuine.
Hearn hasn’t booked this fight for hugs and handshakes, he knows full well the two fighters will quite happily punch each other in the face with no complaints.
Connolly goes into the fight believing she can win. With a full camp behind her, the difference in performance could be significant. A win puts her in line for more nights on the biggest platform in British boxing. Connolly has talked about a possible Commonwealth title fight, beating Bridges could earn her something more.
For Bridges, the fight is the opportunity to solidify her position as a world title contender. A win over Connolly would put her right in line for another tilt at her dream.
The women often made the behind closed doors shows, in many cases, they saved them. Every single time they brought it, Bridges and Connolly will be another fight that won’t easily be forgotten. The winner will move on, the loser will quickly be brought back. It promises to be that kind of fight.