With her opponent employing mind games and trying to wage a war of words, Shannon Courtenay is certain she will win the battle that matters when she faces outspoken Australian Ebanie Bridges for the vacant WBA bantamweight title on April 10.
The unbeaten Bridges (5-0, 2 KOs) talks a good fight, but Courtenay is no longer prepared to listen, having blocked her rival on social media. The Watford fighter also feels that defeat to Rachel Ball last year has galvanised her as a fighter and person ahead of her most meaningful fight to date.
Courtenay was originally supposed to rematch Ball for the WBA belt before her former foe withdrew after a bout of Covid-19. Now, replacement Bridges stands in the way of her world title dream.
“There was no hesitation from me when they offered me the fight,” said Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs). “It’s a fight that has been brewing for a while. It’s a fight that the fans want to see. Stylistically, it makes for a great fight as well. The fact that it’s for a world title too makes it an even bigger fight.
“She’s a good fighter. She’s come forward and aggressive. It’s going to be a very good fight. I’m going to win. I’m not going to say how I’m going to do it. I’m confident in myself and I’m confident in my ability. It’s evident that I can dig hard. She looks like she can dig hard as well.
“She likes to stand and trade and I like to stand and trade. I just want to fight. I just want to punch her in the face. If she wants to burn her energy and time on social media, then let her do that. If she wants to put polls out about underwear and wear a tiara on weigh-in day then crack on. Fill your boots. I don’t care. I’m there to fight.
“I’ve learnt and adapted lots from my loss. It’s made me a better person inside and outside of the ring. Mentally, I’m a hell of a lot stronger now. I was gutted to hear Rachel had pulled out but safety comes first so I wish her a speedy recovery. All that’s changed is the opponent, the outcome is still the same.
“This is the fight game. It’s not a fashion show or a catwalk. I’m too long in the tooth to let mind games get to me. She can attempt to push my buttons all she likes. She won’t be fazing me in the slightest. I’m in a very good mind space. I’m content, happy and excited. I won’t be denied on April 10. I’ll do my talking with my fists.”
Main image: Matchroom Boxing.