Shannon Courtenay goes to war with Ebanie Bridges for the WBA title
With longtime WBC champion Mariana Juarez recently losing her title in a wash against Yulihan Avila, the women’s bantamweight division has suddenly busted wide-open. While Argentina’s Maria Roman holds down the IBF title, and top prospect Dina Thorslund is gunning for the WBO title against former IBF super flyweight champion Debora Dionicius in June, Shannon “The Baby Face Assassin” Courtenay and “Blonde Bomber” Ebanie Bridges take center stage for the vacant WBA title.
AN UNLIKELY RIVALRY
Bridges, an undefeated Australian math teacher, has become quite popular within boxing circles over the past two years. Her desire to mix boxing and sexiness with lingerie fitted outfits at weigh-ins has gotten support and backlash. In addition, a headline involving the sale of her gym socks to a willing buyer for €500 went viral in 2020. This helped lift her profile and has many fans wanting to see what she can do in the ring against stiffer competition. She vows to show all of the UK she is not just some “Barbie”.
Courtenay would be willing to admit she is not a fan of Bridges. She believes the Australian contender is being disrespectful to women boxers everywhere with her antics. In a recent interview, she is quoted as saying Bridges should have more dignity and stop disrespecting the sport. Needless to say, she is ready to shut the mouth of the brash Australian.
TOUGHER THAN EXPECTED
Bridges made it clear prior to the fight that she wasn’t in the sport just to gain attention. She takes boxing very seriously and vowed to show how serious of a contender she is against Courtenay. She did this exactly from the opening round.
The Aussie kept the pressure up and it did not subside at any point over ten rounds. This made Courtenay have to dig deep to utilize all of her boxing tools to keep her physically stronger opponent off of her. Furthermore, the pressure made this an excellent back and forth affair. Without either fighter doing much in the way of feeling each other out, Bridges would look to be more effective early. Although that would change.
A BATTLE OF ATTRITION
By the sixth round, both women showed damage. Courtenay had a gruesome cut above her left ear due to a clash of heads in the second round. Bridges’ left eye was nearly closed due to the successive right hooks she took while constantly coming forward. Also, it became evident that fatigue was setting in for Bridges.
The biggest moment in the fight came in round nine when it was clear the Aussie could not see out of her left eye. The right hands form Courtenay kept coming and she built on that success with the check left hook as well. In the middle of the round, a well timed right hand thudded off the damaged eye of Bridges as she mauled in which buckled her knees. The Brit tried to finish her off but Bridges showed to be a very durable opponent as she continuously took shots before the end of the round. The referee looked closely but felt the Aussie was good to keep going.
In the end, the judges gave the fight to the right woman. With scorecards of 97-94 and 98-92 twice, Courtenay became the new WBA bantamweight champion . 3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 97-93 for the champ as well.
The DAZN commentators seemed to do a lot bickering after the fight. Talking about how the judges didn’t understand what they were watching, etc. The fact of the matter is the fight was a good one and many of the rounds were close. However, Courtenay won the majority of the rounds even though they were close. Bridges did well applying pressure but that is all she did. The champ was the one that made the correct adjustments within the rounds and it was always enough to edge a close round. Unless the judges are giving 10-10 rounds, (which this writer despises when judges do that), it is very difficult to give Bridges credit for a close round she just did not win on a scorecard.
With that said, Courtenay is now in-line to avenge her only defeat against WBC interim champion Rachel Ball.
By: EJ Williams