Ebanie Bridges is more than a blonde bombshell, which she plans to prove against Shannon Courtenay
It’s easy to look at Ebanie Bridges and cast conclusions. The 5-foot Australian bantamweight fireball goes by the moniker “The Blonde Bomber,” and it’s easy to see why.
The 34-year-old math teacher attracts a lot of attention. She’s sassy, carries a brazen mouth and is willing to brawl with anyone—male or female—in any bar from London, England, to New South Wales, Australia.
She’s done it.
But Bridges (5-0, 2 knockouts) will also audaciously tell you, “Hey for people who judge me on first sight, open your mind a little bit and maybe you can see that this girl is pretty f—g real, even though she has fake t-ts. If I can do that, that means I’m changing people’s perceptions.
“There are those people who are f—g stubborn. No matter what, they’ll hate and troll, and they’ll never change their minds. They don’t want to see the real me. They want to sit there and judge. They have their own issues, obviously. I’m not worried about them.”
According to Bridges, she’s not that worried about Britain’s Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs) either, when the two fight for the vacant WBA bantamweight world title on Saturday April 10, which will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. to more than 200 countries and territories.
Bridges and “The Baby Face Assassin” will be on the Conor Benn-Samuel Vargas undercard from the Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in London.
Talk to Bridges long enough and you do come to the conclusion that she is very genuine, despite what she references.
She’s also incredibly powerful. She’s a former bodybuilder who squats 290 pounds for 10 reps, can deadlift 300 pounds for 10 reps and leg presses 900 pounds. It’s why she’s not afraid to burst out and flex in lingerie when she weighs in.
“I feel like I’m going to England and fighting in my home country and believe me, to be honest, and I know that really pisses off Courtenay,”
Bridges not only feels that she’s far stronger than Courtenay, she also feels that the British fanbase will be loudly in her corner.
“I feel like I’m going to England and fighting in my home country and believe me, to be honest, and I know that really pisses off Courtenay,” Bridges said, laughing. “I train with George Kambosos (who handily beat Lee Selby in England last October for a shot at lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez Jr.). It’s very different for me than George in England. George won that fight. There was no doubt about that.
“But George isn’t a fan favorite in the UK. I am. I’ve practically been adopted by the UK. They look at me as one of theirs. They will be rooting for me way above (Courtenay). They’re going to be rooting for me like I’m the fan’s champ. That’s the vibe that I get. I can’t wait to fight in front of my British fans. I’m comfortable there, but I’m comfortable everywhere I go.”
That comes from an inner strength that was build when she was in her formative years.
Bridges was in combat sports since she was five. As she grew older, she transitioned to bodybuilding, while achieving a graduate degree in education.
The youngest of twins by six minutes, she is the only girl in her family, and she also has an older brother. Her parents placed her and her two brothers in karate when she was five and she’s the only one that stayed with it. Because women were not allowed to fight in Australia, she took up bodybuilding as she grew older.
She admits she was a “tomboy” in her teens; not afraid to do anything—even willing to get her hands greasy working on cars. She played a high level of soccer as a teenager, though there was that lingering compulsion to hit someone, she says laughing.
“I was always a little bit aggressive, but I wouldn’t do anything until someone started trouble with me,” Bridges said. “Me and twin brother would always talk s—t with one another. I fought in my teens and I didn’t start anything. People would always start up with me.
“I was fighting in my early 20s in bars and stuff, with women and men. I grew up in a rough area and I was this blonde that stood out. I used to get picked on and I would retaliate. I wouldn’t go out looking for trouble.”
Bridges boldly embraces her looks. She knows it is a double-edged sword.
Because of that, many are attracted to her. Because of her looks, she’s also disliked.
“Oh, she’s just t-ts! I’m more than just great f—g t-ts!”
It’s why she’s been doubted as to whether or not she can really fight. What goes unseen underneath the beauty lies a raw grittiness. Bridges is a contradiction: She’s a beautiful bad-ass woman who can kick ass.
“Yeah, I get that I’m ‘too pretty to fight,’ it’s been that way my whole life,” Bridges said. “It is a battle. I didn’t get any breaks. I always liked doing the opposite of everyone else. In early adolescence, I always looked to do what the boys did. People made assumptions about my sexuality because of that, which weren’t true because I wasn’t into doing what ‘girls did.’
“It’s not purposely done, but it’s why I feel that I’m breaking stereotypes here, because I look very feminine and I happen to be into boy’s stuff. That’s important to me. I don’t pretend to be anyone that I’m not.
“I also get that I must not be smart, based on my looks. I understand that it’s human nature, but you know it’s 2021, get your head out of your ass. There’s that judging that puts off the younger generation. F—k what people say.
“I happen to look the way I look on the outside. Inside, I’m probably the complete opposite. I’m a teacher and I tell my students it doesn’t matter what society thinks what you should be doing. If you want to do it, you just f—g do it. I want to stay strong with it. I won’t hide the fact that I’m beautiful. What the f—k!
“Why should I play it down? Why should anyone play it down? Why can’t I weigh in in lingerie and I do all of these sexy things when it’s sports? Why can’t I? Why can’t I be feminine and be a beauty and a beast? Why? That’s the message I push.
“Oh, she’s just t-ts! I’m more than just great f—g t-ts!”
Bridges is looking to unleash this fire against Courtenay.
“I envision going over there and shocking the world,” Bridges said. “I’m going to go over there and going to flex in my lingerie. I’m going to be who I am. Courtenay gives me s—, because I weigh in in lingerie. She says that if I’m going to get naked, I should get naked somewhere else, because boxing is a serious sport.
“She’s the complete opposite of me personality-wise. She’s a good boxer, who does work hard. She’s kind of pretty. But I have constant in-boxes from British fans saying please shut this girl up. F—k it! I worked 10 years for this body and I can hit like a middleweight. I will show the world that you can look like a ‘barbie’ and bang.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.