Ebanie Bridges: The Next Chapter
Ebanie Bridges is back in the UK this week and heading to Fight Camp to face Bec Connolly this weekend. It will be the first appearance inside a boxing ring since losing her unbeaten record at the hands of Shannon Courtenay in April.
Bridges (5-1) might have lost to her bitter rival but it was the sort of fight and performance that enhances a fighter and her reputation. She lost nothing in defeat.
There were doubts beforehand, Bridges had got herself noticed with her Social Media blitz, knocking down doors with relentless interviews with every available boxing platform, but could she actually fight. Against Courtenay, she proved beyond any reasonable doubt that she could.
But this Saturday the Australian knows she has to start all over again. Bridges told me a week or so after her last fight:
“I want to keep climbing and keep getting better.” Words that epitomise what Bridges is really about. It’s not about getting there, or even staying there, the aim is much bigger than that.
There is no resting on her laurels, being satisfied with what she has. The push now is for another shot at a world title, and this time to win it.
The fight with Courtenay was closer than the judge’s had it. Much closer. An even fight after 8 pulsating rounds that swung back and forth constantly, Courtenay won the 9th round, but if you scored the 10th for Bridges, which isn’t that much of a stretch, an even scorecard could easily have been reached.
Bridges fought through the pain barrier, blinded for the last 3 rounds, the grotesque swelling over her left eye rendered Bridges severely compromised. Few would have blamed her if she had quit, but it’s nothing new to Bridges.
She has proven her toughness throughout her life. A tough unforgiving early life, one that Bridges admits herself she was lucky to survive. She suffered a broken ankle on her professional debut, a fight she still won. Fighting with one eye to Bridges is just a standard day at the office.
Connolly will have that rare luxury of a fight at her premium fighting weight and with a full training camp. Bridges will face the best ever version of Bec Connolly. But equally, Connolly will have to deal with an Ebanie Bridges that will likely be a much better version than the one Courtenay faced earlier this year.
Bridges has sacrificed plenty if not everything in the pursuit of a dream. The Australian hasn’t been home since March. After a short stay in Mexico, she headed to Philadelphia after the fight with Courtenay to prepare for her next fight. It is her first full training camp in America and Bridges hopes that will see her game rise to another level.
Connolly has nothing to lose and everything to gain on Saturday night. A win could potentially change her life, at the very least, it would get her another call to compete on the big stage.
Bridges needs to win and is the fighter with all the pressure on her shoulders. But she is highly unlikely to be found wanting. There is an unwavering and impressive self-belief, a fighter who is convinced that she will win a world title. Conviction goes a long way in sport, hoping to win and believing you will is often the difference between winning and losing.
‘The Blonde Bomber’ is back for a reason. Many expected to see her get blown away by Courtenay, they were disappointed. The amount of followers she has obviously helps her, but Bridges brings more to the table than that. The Courtenay fight was quite rightly labelled as one of the best ever female fights, Saturday night will bring more of the same. Putting on exciting fights is the bigger story, Bridges almost guarantees that and that is why she has been brought back. Bridges vs Connolly will likely be the fight of the night, even those that have paid the £750 entry fee will not feel short-changed.
It is the next chapter for Bridges, a win keeps her in the world title conversation, its an important night for her, but you sense she was born for nights under the bright lights.
Bridges is someone who wants to make the most of her life and not waste a single second of it. The mission is to maximise in many areas. To keep growing her brand and her sport, but Bridges has serious ambitions inside the ring. Cut away all the entertainment that she brings, Bridges is a born fighter.
She has come a long way in the last 12 months or so, but Bridges will say she is only just getting started.