Shannon O’Connell says she will make Ebanie Bridges quit when the bitter Aussie rivals clash for the IBF Bantamweight World Title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds this Saturday December 10, shown live worldwide on DAZN.
The pair have been embroiled in a fierce war of words since their World Title showdown was officially confirmed in September, but 39-year-old O’Connell from Slacks Creek in Queensland has accused ‘The Blonde Bomber’ of “taking things beyond boxing by getting personal.”
Bridges (8-1, 3 KOs) and O’Connell (23-6-1, 11 KOs) go head-to-head in the biggest fight in the history of Australian women’s boxing on the undercard of the Josh Warrington vs. Luis Alberto Lopez, and there is no love lost between them after ‘Shotgun’ O’Connell criticised Bridges for wearing lingerie at weigh-ins.
“The rivalry probably came from me not liking the way Ebanie conducts herself,” said O’Connell. “I’ve got a 15-year-old daughter and if I was doing the things Ebanie is doing it would be basically telling my 15-year-old daughter, ‘get your clothes off and you can basically get what you want in life’. That’s not what I’m about. Guy or girl it doesn’t matter who you are and what you’ve done – work hard for what you want.
“If you want something hard enough and you work hard enough to get it, you’ll get there. I don’t want people to think that I just got gifted something. I really have busted my ass for twenty years in this sport and I’ve done everything the hard way. I know boxing more than I know my own life. I’ve been in there 80 times. I’ve done this so many times that it’s more normal to me than living everyday life.
“I’m not about the bright lights and the fame of it. I feel like I am the better fighter and I’ve done the work. If that means I get called the World Champion, then I deserve that. She knows what she’s doing getting on those scales’ half naked in her lingerie. She knows what she’s doing buying Eddie Hearn those sunglasses. She knows everything she’s doing. So for her to be acting dumb saying, ‘I’m just doing what everyone else is doing’. No she’s not – she knows what she’s about.
“I don’t know where this jealousy thing comes from. I don’t want the ‘fakeness’ of social media – I’m not about that. She’s said a lot of bad stuff about me. She said I’m mentally weak. She talks too much. I think she forgets what she says. She contradicts herself every time she opens her mouth. I don’t like her.
“It’ll be extremely special to win this World Title. The path that I’ve created has all lead to this one moment. I’ve always said from the start, if I could tell my story and it changed one person’s life then it was all worth it. Well this is what will make it really worth it to them as well as me. It will show them that anything is possible.”
Bridges vs. O’Connell is part of a huge night of World Title action in Leeds; local hero Josh Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KOs) defends his IBF Featherweight World Title against Mandatory Challenger Luis Alberto Lopez (26-2, 15 KOs) in the main event, Wokingham Middleweight Felix Cash (15-0, 10 KOs) takes on Celso Nevez (9-2-2, 2 KOs) over eight rounds, Liverpool’s James Metcalf (23-2, 14 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Title against Brooklyn’s Courtney Pennington (16-5-3, 7 KOs), Leeds Super-Bantamweight prospect Koby McNamara (3-0) looks to go 4-0 against Nabil Ahmed (1-10-2), former World Champion Shannon Courtenay (7-2, 3 KOs) meets Bournemouth’s Gemma Ruegg (5-5, 1 KO) over eight rounds at Super-Bantamweight, Heckmondwike Lightweight Cory O’Regan (8-0) fights Shaun Cooper (13-4) over six rounds, Hopey Price (8-0, 3 KOs) aims to go 9-0 against Jonathan Santana (9-3-1, 1 KO) in front of his home crowd, Gateshead talent Calum French (3-0, 1 KO) looks to finish the year in style against Kurt Jackson (3-0) and Anthony Crolla-trained Lightweight Rhiannon Dixon (5-0) opens the night’s action against Kristine Shergold (7-6-1, 1 KO).