FOR most boxers, a global pandemic has resulted in idle time on the sidelines.
But for unbeaten Ebanie Bridges, a pupil of Arnel Barotillo, the lockdown has been an overwhelming success. The heavily tattooed bantamweight eagerly awaits her first COVID-19 era bout after breaking into the lucrative British market.
The telegenic 33-year-old, who is employed as a maths teacher in Sydney, has used her fun-natured personality to lure an entirely new audience, including award-winning broadcaster and author Gareth A Davies.
In an interview with the world’s biggest sports radio station, talkSPORT, Bridges (4-0, 2 KOs) recounts her combat sports journey, which started in bodybuilding and martial arts, before an eventual transition to boxing.
“I went into kickboxing and Muay Thai training, back then… it wasn’t legal for women to fight in Australia,” Bridges told Davies and former European titleholder Spencer Oliver.
“Pretty much I started karate when I was five… when I hit high-school, I wanted to do something a bit more aggressive. I was just training, I wasn’t able to fight in kickboxing in Australia. I started bodybuilding and that put me on the straight and narrow.
“I was very disciplined with bodybuilding, I was state, regional and national champion, did international comps. That was my life for my twenties. I thought I’d achieved everything.”
Like many Australians, Bridges was a long-time admirer of former undisputed light welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, using that interest to migrate into an eventual pugilistic pursuit of her own.
“For half of my life, I’d like smashing things and punching people… this is what I love,” she explained.
“I’ve been a massive boxing fan myself for all my life. I grew up watching action movies and boxers. Kostya Tszyu was my hero. In my teens, I even dated a guy with a Kostya Tszyu haircut.
“First and foremost, I’m a boxing fan, and I’m still a boxing fan.
“I can’t wait to smash heads again, honestly. That’s just what I want to do. It’s good for me, you know… with social media, having that time off to connect with fans.”
— Blonde Bomber 🥊💣💁🏼♀️😈 (@EbanieBridges) July 25, 2020
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Watching @realedgarberlanga go 14-0 with ANOTHER 1st round KO – now 14 1st round KOs, and seeing Coach Andre Rozier, made me reminisce on last year being in Brooklyn and training in Rozier’s “Dungeon”. . . Can’t wait to get back to the US and get more work in 🙏🏼🙏🏼 . . #Boxing #BrooklynBoxing #EdgarBerlanga
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Bridges, who is yet to commit to a promoter on a contractual basis, has garnered interest from a handful of key players in the overseas market, including the likes of Queensberry Promotions, headed by long-time British boxing identity, Frank Warren.
However, it’s a potential relationship with Essex-based promotional tycoon Matchroom Boxing that has Bridges exploring her problems. Despite her free agent status, Bridges sees benefits in testing the market, citing a social media interaction with Eddie Hearn.
“I slid into Eddie’s DMs a long time ago, so I don’t know what he’s doing,” she added.
“I’ve been in some talks with some people. But you know what? I’m going to do my thing, you know, I don’t need a promoter… I’m enjoying self promotion as well, and I do understand that.
“Well firstly, when I came into boxing, I knew that boxing was ninety percent males, and I knew that I had something that males like. I thought you know what… I’d be silly not to kinda’ play it all and not use it.
“I’m that kind of personality. I love having banter, I love chatting with the boys, I love having a joke.
“That’s just my personality, and I would never want to change that, or cover that up to come across more proper or whatever. I think there’s enough boring women out there, this is an entertainment sport. If my personality, and who I am, and what I’m comfortable being and doing is entertaining, than better for me.”
Bridges, who last competed in February, is expected to fight at least once in the calendar year. However, the lack of promotional activity domestically means that any potential opportunity will have to be paused. But if an inevitable return isn’t locked in, a likely trip abroad is on the cards.
“I definitely want to get in there, throwing down again,” she concluded.
“There was plans of getting a fight here in Australia in September. I’m just waiting to announce it because everything is in limbo because of COVID.
“I’m still training for it, I’m hoping for it, but it’s very hard. We can’t announce things because it might not happen. There’s also another opportunity here in October… I am looking to hopefully get one fight at least this year.
“It’ll probably be in Australia. I want to head over to the UK. It just depends if a promoter wants to put me on. If not, I’ll be heading over there myself, just to check out the UK, check out gyms and check out my fans.”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz