Ahead of her showdown with Bec Connolly at Matchroom’s Fight Camp in August, Australian bantamweight Ebanie Bridges spoke passionately about breaking barriers in not only boxing, but life in general.
Last time out, Bridges engaged in a thrilling war with WBA bantamweight champion Shannon Courtenay on the undercard of Conor Benn’s win over Samuel Vargas in April. Though the Brit ended up emerging victorious via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards, the spectacle lifted the roof at the Copper Box Arena, earning the respect of fight fans across the UK and further afield, as well as further increasing the bar for women's boxing.
The women’s game is certainly on the up and it’s not just in the ring either, with DAZN announcing a new star-studded on-air line-up last week, featuring the likes of 2021 SJA Sports Presenter of the Year Laura Woods and Maya Jama, and it’s something 'the Blonde Bomber' likes to see.
“I’ve never heard of them before,” the 34-year-old told The Sportsman, "but they look good, and that's what I like. It's important to be able to hire women that are presentable and in sport and show that we do know sport and talk sport. I like that - breaking the stereotypes".
Before the Courtenay fight, Bridges caused a stir amongst the boxing community when she took to the weighing scales in lingerie, with some fans upset at the display and going as far as to suggest that she should just “let her boxing do the talking".
"I know there's been some people complaining about it [women in the DAZN boxing line up], you know, boxing standards, your die-hard boxing fans - just like they were complaining when I was weighing in in my lingerie,” Bridges explained. “They all whinged and bitched, because that's not what they're used to.
"But people need to open their horizons and not be so closed-minded. Don't judge someone by their looks or their gender and just be like 'let's give her a go, if she's sh*t, she's sh*t. If they're no good, they're no good.’ But how can you be judging and putting down, having a cry, before you've even seen anything?
“I’m the perfect example of that - after people had actually seen me fight, they start believing and they realise that they can’t just judge me.”
Bridges recently stated that “pretty girls are told to be models or hairdressers” and she had a message for any young girls out there who might be interested in boxing, or any profession where they’re not as readily-accepted as men.
“It’s really important just to do what you desire and what you dream, your passion, no matter what. Don’t listen to what other people tell you, what you can and can’t do, if you want to do something, f**king do it. There’s no such thing as stereotypes, no such thing as boy's and girl’s things.”
Bridges will face Bec Connolly at Fight Camp on August 7th in the back garden of Matchroom’s HQ in Brentwood in what will be her first fight in the UK with fans in attendance.