Ebanie Bridges: 2021 & Beyond
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ebanie Bridges had many dark times in her early life. But in many ways, it made her the person and the fighter that she is today.
“I experienced some really traumatic events throughout high school where I was in a very dark place but when I reached 18 I decided to turn my life around with the help and support of my parents. I pretty much blocked my parents out during my teenage years but I strongly believe everything happens for a reason, and my past has shaped me into the hard-working, driven, strong, no quit woman I am today.”
Bridges was driven to the stars by those early troubles. In many ways, she was born to be in the spotlight. Bridges was made for it.
“It’s crazy to think about how far it has come. Even in March this year I was fighting in a car park in Australia. And now I am the most talked-about female fighter in the industry.” Bridges told me with no arrogance only conviction in our last interview of the year a few months ago.
Sometimes in life, you just know. The very first time I spoke to Bridges early in 2020, very quickly I knew. I didn’t know then just how far the story would go, but I knew it would go far.
I am not sure I had any choice but to interview Bridges. The decision was made for me. By her. I was tagged in as someone who would be interested in interviewing Bridges when she was starting out on her mission to get seen and heard.
I had become aware of the Australian, in truth, it was practically impossible not to have been. I commented that Bridges was on my wish list, Bridges saw and said: “No more wishing, let’s get it done.”
There was something about Bridges even then, she could certainly sell herself, probably better than any fighter around today. But could she actually fight? We would soon find out.
Shannon Courtenay was the perfect dance partner for Bridges. Their rivalry was nicely simmering, Courtenay tried to avoid it. Bridges was never going to let her. Simmer would soon turn to boiling point. When Rachel Ball pulled out of her rematch early this year, Courtenay needed an opponent at short notice. Bridges answered the call.
The eerie setting with no fans could have given us a subdued experience inside the ring. It was anything but subdued. Steve Bunce claimed: “It might have been the best women’s fight we’ve ever seen in this country.” It certainly was a contender. Despite some stiff competition since. It still is.
Bridges showed no quit despite the grotesque swelling over her left eye. Sugar Ray Leonard once said the one thing you can’t teach or buy in boxing is guts. Bridges showed that she has plenty in that department. We should have known.
An even fight after 8 rounds, the 10th round pivotal to a winner being declared. The judges scored it wide. They were wrong.
Many thought Bridges would come to England and be exposed and never be heard of again. That didn’t work out. Eddie Hearn liked what he saw, Bridges quickly became a Matchroom fighter.
Bridges returned in August and again showed her credentials and further improvement. A fully prepared Bec Connolly was dispatched in swift and impressive fashion. That version of Bridges would have beaten Courtenay.
A quick return in Leeds saw Bridges struggle with injuries but still beat the underrated Mailys Gangloff. A much better win than some will give Bridges credit for. And a win without controversy.
The new year will see Bridges in a world title fight once again. Hearn is talking March and Leeds. The spiritual adopted home. Bridges is still improving as a fighter, the raw talent has shown plenty. The refined version could reward more.
Despite how far she has come Bridges wants more. She craves a world title, her journey is about much more than just building a brand and the large following that goes with it.
“I want to be in those books as a world champion.” Bridges will soon get another opportunity to get what she wants. But even then, that won’t be enough. Bridges is that type of fighter. She is that type of person.