How Ebanie Bridges became IBF champion, silencing the critics and dazzling fans in sexy lingerie at her weigh-ins

EBANIE BRIDGES is bringing glam to boxing inside and outside of the ring.

The outspoken, criminally underrated Aussie boxer, 35, emphatically saw off Maria Cecilia Roman last month to become IBF champion – and silence her critics.

It capped off a remarkable journey that began in 2016 as an amateur – but even then Bridges knew she was destined for the top, despite her relatively late start to the game and her first fight being just weeks before her 30th birthday.

"When I first started out, I knew I wanted to be a world champion. That was my goal," she exclusively told SunSport.

"And during the training camp, I already believed I was going to be.

"It wasn't a shock (when I won), because I already felt like a champion. I made myself believe it."

read more in boxing

Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte undercard: Who is fighting on HUGE bill?

Joe Joyce WILL step up to face Tyson Fury if Dillian Whyte pulls out

But before she defeated her Argentinian foe by unanimous decision after 10 gruelling rounds to become world champ, Bridges' stunning looks brought her fighting ability into question.

Her weigh-ins have become legendary among boxing fans – with her choice of lingerie sexing up the occasion, making promoter Eddie Hearn blush in the process.

But after her famous victory, she let her critics who saw her just as the pretty face of women's boxing have it. She roared in an interview ringside with DAZN, "Can I f****** fight or what?!"

Not that proving her doubters wrong gave her extra motivation.

Most read in Boxing

'It's not the Tyson Fury show!'

Whyte finally breaks silence as he plots Tyson Fury upset


WBC shows off the new ‘Union Belt’ set to be awarded to winner of Fury vs Whyte


'I love her to death' – Jake Paul breaks silence on relationship status


John Fury laughs off son Tyson's threat to quit boxing after Whyte fight

In defeating Maria Cecilia Roman, Bridges delivered a boxing masterclassCredit: Reuters
Bridges blasted her doubters after winning the IBF beltCredit: Instagram @ebanie_bridges

"People use different things for motivation. I don't use people's hate or disbelief of me to motivate myself," she said.

"A lot of people want to prove people wrong, but I'm not like that.

"It wasn't the motivation for my fight, but when I did win – and I beat the longest reigning champion in the division decisively – it was a very sweet f*** you.

"You can't say I can't fight now. I put on a masterclass in boxing."

From the young age of five, Bridges was obsessed by combat sports.

She took on martial arts, including Karate which she has a black belt in.

Boxing was her No1 passion, and growing up she loved watching Mike Tyson and Kostya Tszu in action.

However, due to strict fighting laws in her homeland women weren't allowed to compete in combat sports until 2008.

Desperate to be involved, she took a job as a ring girl and continued to train religiously.

She said: "I wanted to be in the fights, but wasn't allowed. So instead I got paid to show off my banging body.

"Then I started doing competitive bodybuilding all the way through my 20s. By that time, combat sports for women became legal.

"I liked punching people up, so it made sense for me to make the transition to amateur boxing."

Bridges fought 30 times at amateur level – winning 26 times, before turning professional just three years ago.

Alongside her sporting ambitions, she earned a degree in maths and a Master's in teaching, and she teaches at a school – proving academia is just as important for Bridges.

"It's not just about boxing. It's about setting your goals and achieving your dreams, so I feel like I'm setting example for my students," she said.

"To see their own teacher at this level and working hard, and also someone who has already done three degrees and a Masters, shows them that education is important."

Her rise to the top hasn't been without its sacrifices. Her path to success has been helped by training in England's boxing gyms.

She is a 24-hour flight away and nine-hours behind in time from her family and partner when she's on our shores.

But her popularity in the UK knows no ends, as is proven by the seven million viewers that tune-in to watch her famous weigh-ins.

Dressed in risqué underwear, Bridges made no apologies for who she is and what she wears.

She said: "Why would I go and buy f****** underwear that I would never wear again?"

"And because everyone else wears Calvin Klein matching underwear, should I go and buy the same? No way!

"I want to wear underwear that I actually like. I was also a bodybuilder for 10 years of my life, so I would stand on stage with a g-string, flexing, posing and looking pretty.

"For me, wearing a nice matching lingerie set is just like wearing a bikini like I did on stage.

"I am standing there owning what I look like, and showing off my body that I've worked so hard to get.

"I want to be myself and go and enjoy that one moment. A weigh-in for me is like a bodybuilding competition. I do my hair and make-up, wear a cute little g-string, and smile for the cameras.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with, 'oh, this is going to sell'. Thankfully it does. What I like to do sells. How I like to fight sells. But it's just me being me and doing what I want to do.

"I push that message. Be you, be real. It's not female empowerment. But I'm not hiding my femininity because I'm in a male-dominated sport.

"People think it's me wearing lingerie that fans want to see, but it's not the lingerie that gets the seven million views.

Read More on The Sun

Downcast Gogglebox star Ellie seen for first time since boyfriend’s car crash

Burnley SACK Dyche in huge shock as they bid to avoid the drop with 8 games left

"It's the whole thing. The way I move, the confidence I have, because I am an ex-bodybuilder and is what I do naturally.

"I do it because I f****** love it."

    Source: Read Full Article