The old saying ‘looks can be deceiving’ has perhaps never been as true as in the case of IBF featherweight champion Ebanie Bridges.
A late starter in boxing, Bridges trained in karate and muay thai as a youth before embarking on a successful career in bodybuilding, winning various titles around the Sydney area.
Though she had some combat sports experience, Bridges’ route to a career as a professional was unique in that she had initially started taking boxing classes solely as a way to improve her footwork for prospective career in kickboxing.
But it was pugilism where Bridges would find a newfound passion, and despite turning her attention to the sweet science as a relative latecomer she found immediate success, winning Australian Golden Gloves titles at bantamweight in 2016 and 2017.
Making her pro debut aged 32, and despite the early portion of his career being disrupted by the pandemic, Bridges wasted no time undergoing a protracted development phase as a professional.
Ebanie Bridges has become one of the most recognisable faces in all of boxing despite only making her debut four years ago
The 36-year-old has become a regular feature of British boxing cards, and won a world title in her ninth pro fight
Bridges defended her world title with an eighth-round TKO of Shannon O’Connell in December
Instead she garnered a devoted following from the outset thanks to her exciting style and penchant for weighing-in wearing lingerie before fighting for the WBA bantamweight title in just her sixth career outing.
Though she would find herself on the wrong side of a unanimous decision on that night at the Copper Box against Shannon Courtenay in 2021, Bridges continued undeterred.
A Leeds United fan since childhood, the Blonde Bomber has made the Yorkshire city her adopted home for and explained that her love affair with the club began thanks to another of the city’s Australian imports.
‘He’s my fave, what an animal,’ Bridges said of former Whites striker Mark Viduka to Pub Talk podcast.
‘Obviously when I played football in the late 90s and early 00s Leeds was huge in Australia.
‘When you’re around my age group, my era there are a lot of Leeds fans because we were in the Premier League.’
Moving her career permanently to the UK, Bridges returned to winning ways with two further fights in 2021, beating Bec Connolly and Mailys Gangloff to position herself for another world title shot.
This time Bridges would make the best of her opportunity, defeating Maria Cecilia Roman to capture the IBF bantamweight title in her adopted home city, before retaining the belt with a gritty grudge-match TKO of Shannon O’Connell.
But it’s not just Bridges’ exploits inside the ring that have made her one of the most recognisable faces in the sport today.
The 36-year-old has also built a sizeable following through regularly sharing adult content on the subscription site OnlyFans, and flashed her bra to a reporter in December when asked to explain her weigh-in outfit.
‘It’s like lace, has my handle, subscribe now,’ said Bridges. ‘I don’t know, what is it? It’s sexy, isn’t it?
Bridges is also a devoted Leeds United fan, having started supporting the team due to her love of former Whites star Mark Viduka
In addition to her all-action style, the former bodybuilder has also gained fans for her habit of weighing in while wearing lingerie
Bridges (pictured) has left a shocked in December by lifting her shirt and flashing her bra during an interview about her controversial weigh-in outfit
‘It’s more pretty stripper not so much skanky stripper, you know what I mean?’
Bridges has also struck up a close friendship with social media personality turned influencer boxer Elle Brooke, with the pair engaging in a bizarre public bet late last year.
With Bridges’ beloved Leeds taking on Brooke’s favourite team, Man City, in the Premier League on Boxing Day at Elland Road, the Blonde Bomber tweeted that the pair had agreed that the winner could punch the loser.
‘She hits hard but I reckon she would be scared to hit me,’ Bridges told Daily Mail Australia after City ran out 3-1 winners.
‘But a bet is a bet [so] she gets a free shot.’
Facing criticism online for opening an OnlyFans account, Bridges revealed that the move had proven to be significantly lucrative, and that her enjoyment of the sport is now the main reason she is continues her career in the ring.
‘You wouldn’t even believe it if I said it,’ she replied when asked how much she has made on the platform in an interview with Talksport.
‘It’s only been 10 weeks and I won’t disclose [the amount] but from the second day of launching my OnlyFans I’ve been in the top 0.01 per cent of earners.
‘I don’t even know why I’m boxing, probably because I love hitting people.’
Bridges has also created headlines for her friendship with UFC legend Conor McGregor.
The pair were pictured together at Katie Taylor’s defeat to Chantelle Cameron in May, with multiple pictures showing the Irishman throwing his arm around her at ringside.
Though she would later reveal on social media that she felt ‘manhandled’ during the encounter, the pair have remained close ever since and were again pictured together in attendance for Anthony Joshua’s KO win against Robert Helenius earlier this month.
The OnlyFans star has also struck up a close friendship with UFC legend Conor McGregor
But Bridges shocked fans after claiming she felt the Irishman had ‘manhandled’ her at ringside
Despite the comments the pair were once again pictured together at ringside earlier this month
Despite a mixed response online, with some fans referring to her as a ‘clout chaser’, Bridges affirmed that she enjoyed her time with McGregor.
‘Had a great night ringside at the Anthony Joshua fight with my pal Conor McGregor enjoying his smooth Irish Forged Stout,’ she said after the fight.
‘It’s always a good time with Conor – he’s always the life of the party and very humble.
‘As we know, I like to break the internet, so I thought why not rock a sexy outfit, as I do, and promote Conor’s new stout while I’m at it.’
Hand surgery earlier this year has curtailed the Aussie’s activity inside the ring just as her stardom grows to newfound heights, but if anything is certain it is that anything Ebanie Bridges does has the power to capture the public’s attention.