Feud erupts over Aussie’s ‘get your clothes off’ jibe

A nasty feud has erupted during a streamed interview between two Australian boxers who will fight for a world title next month.

In fact it was just as well Ebanie Bridges and Shannon O’Connell weren’t in the same room physically, or they might have turned their bout into a bare-knuckle affair four weeks early.

Bridges – a former mathematics teacher from Sydney but now residing in England – holds the IBF bantamweight belt, and will face her compatriot in Leeds on December 10.

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Known as the Blonde Bomber, Bridges has carved out a stellar boxing career in her own right, and solidified her impressive rise up the ranks with the title triumph in March, beating Maria Cecilia Roman via unanimous decision.

But she has also earned a cult following, and ruffled plenty of feathers in the sporting world, by wearing fancy lingerie at her fight weigh-ins.

Bridges often asks her social media followers to guess the color and style of the lingerie she will wear at her next weigh-in.

Boxers almost always strip down to the bare minimum during weigh-in, with some even known to strip completely naked in order to make weight – George Kambosos Jr and Isaac Hardman have both done so in the past 12 months.

But O’Connell believes Bridges has used the gimmick to boost her profile in the sport and help her get to the top.

This week the pair squared off in a fiery interview hosted by Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, who is promoting their December 10 bout.

Hearn asked O’Connell about comments she’s made about Bridges in the past, and it kickstarted a war of words between the fighters.

O’Connell: I don’t like the way Ebanie has gone about things. If you look back 10 years ago… (female boxers) never got recognised, we went on all the amateur events and tours, we paid our own way, there was no respect in the sport for women.

I believe everyone has worked so hard to gain respect, and to do things the way Ebanie has done them…

Bridges: So I’m not working hard? You don’t think that I’m actually working hard?

O’Connell: You’re working hard in a different way.

Bridges: You don’t think I worked hard just because I look a bit different, what I do isn’t the same as you? You’re saying I haven’t had it the hard way because I’m a little bit different?

O’Connell: Because you get your clothes off to be seen.

Bridges: I get my clothes off? Sorry, what does everyone else weigh-in in? Claressa Shields just weighed in lingerie, gets her clothes off too…

O’Connell: There’s levels of it. There’s levels of lingerie… I’ve heard interviews where you’re saying you grew up around strippers and stuff, and you’re bagging them out, now you’re acting like one.

Bridges: I never ever bagged out a stripper. I grew up around them, I’ve never bagged them out.

O’Connell: I’ve got kids. Imagine my 16-year-old son going to school and all his mates passing around that photo of me – there would be punch-ons every day. And my daughter is 15, imagine her, teaching me ‘hey just get your clothes off and you’ll get what you want in life’.

Bridges: I’m not getting my clothes off, I’m weighing in. Do you get your clothes off when you weigh in?

O’Connell: I wear appropriate apparel.

Bridges: Do you wear boob tubes and little shorts when you train? Do you see me wearing that when I train? Do you see me walking around in little, tight, skimpy stuff when I’m training? It’s so 1920s, telling women what they need to do.

If it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t be on this platform, you wouldn’t be getting seen globally, you wouldn’t be getting the biggest payday of your career. You can say I’ve disrespected the sport, but I’m pretty sure because of me you’re here, you’re going to make good money, and you’ll have people actually know who you are.

O’Connell: I don’t give a shit about people knowing who I am and I don’t give a shit about the money. You carry on like I’ve got no confidence and you’re so confident, but if you were so confident you wouldn’t be constantly begging for validation every five seconds.

Bridges: I don’t need validation.

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