Shannon Courtenay still has her vacant WBA bantamweight title fight on April 10 on Matchroom’s Benn-Vargas card, which will stream live on DAZN, but there’s been a change of opponent.
Rachel Ball, who beat Courtenay last summer, was set for a rematch, but the 30-year-old Ball (7-1, 0 KO) is still battling effects from COVID-19, so she’s out. In is Australia’s Ebanie Bridges (5-0, 2 KO), who is quite a character.
“I was gutted to hear Rachel had pulled out but safety comes first so I wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to when we do have that rematch down the line,” said Courtenay.
“All that’s changed is the opponent, the outcome is still the same and I will be crowned world champion. We‘ll put on a great, non-stop action fight for the fans but I’m more determined and focused than ever and that world title is staying in the UK.”
“I’m very excited to be the first female from Australia fighting on a Matchroom card,” said Bridges. “When Eddie contacted me, it was really unexpected but I’m not going to say no to this chance.
“I was gutted for Rachel as she’s a friend and I wish her well in recovery but opportunity knocks. This is a fight that fans have spoke about for a while now since I moved onto the British scene. I respect Shannon as a boxer, I think we’ll put on a great show but I’ll be the one leaving with the gold.
“This is a huge platform to showcase my skills and who I am, ‘The Blonde Bomber’, to the world. I’ll bring the fight to Shannon – I’m coming to win that world title, buckle up!”
As for why the fighters ranked 13th and 29th in the world by BoxRec are fighting for a vacant WBA title — especially considering Courtenay has fought at this weight just the once — let’s be real: Eddie Hearn puts money behind women’s boxing and Matchroom want to get a world title on Courtenay (6-1, 3 KO), who is a clear company favorite and a likable fighter.
It was questionable even when it was Ball-Courtenay 2, by the way, because Ball has never fought at bantamweight. And for what it’s worth, nobody’s actually fought for this belt in over three years, so whatever.