‘Being pretty doesn’t equal being dumb’
"There's a lot of questions that need to be answered about the Blonde Bomber," says Ebanie Bridges, aka the Blonde Bomber.
The third-person speak, the raw unfiltered mouth of the boxer interspersed with her calm demeanour as a mathematics teacher at a western Sydney school, the lingerie weigh-ins, even her side business selling worn socks to internet fetishists, you may have seen and heard about.
But weeks out from her first world title fight, Bridges is aware of her own mystery.
With 42,000 Instagram followers, and a further 33,000 on Twitter, is she famous for her looks and banter alone or does she have world class boxing ability?
Kayo is your ticket to the best sport streaming Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
We shall see on April 10 when Bridges (5-0, 2KO) fights England's Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3KO) for the WBA bantamweight world title in the United Kingdom over 10 rounds.
Before then, Bridges is happy to answer some of the other questions about the "Blonde Bomber".
"I'm smashing stereotypes and there's nothing wrong with that," Bridges said.
"There is a stupid misconception that pretty girls with big boobs can't fight, they mustn't be athletic, and they're dumb - you're a bimbo if you're pretty.
"It's so hard to get respect if you're an attractive woman in the workforce, as a maths teacher or a lawyer, you're always 'sleeping your way to the top', it mustn't be you or your brain.
"We need to change that, because being pretty doesn't equal being dumb and not skilled. We're not there just to model and be pretty."
But Bridges, 35, is also unafraid to flaunt her physical assets to build her profile.
"Why should I hide who I am and what I look like?" she said.
"I'm just not being shy about my hard-earned body, that I spent years working on through bodybuilding and years working to get money to buy boobs.
"It's all good for me, they're talking about me, the attention is on me.
"My weigh-ins get more views and more interest than most other women's fights.
"Everything I do goes viral. Everything about the Blonde Bomber is controversial and viral, and they can't help but talk about me. It might be love or hate, but they can't stop talking about me, and that makes me money.
"I'll make more money winning this fight and defending the title, than any girl has ever made in Australian boxing, ever.
"I'm not about trash-talking, I'm about having banter, interacting with fans, looking good, taking pride in how I look and present myself.
"My weigh-ins are an event for me, I love it, it feels like a mini bodybuilding competition for me. I like getting into my lingerie, having a little flex, it takes away that daunting feeling of being dehydrated and starving.
"I'm never going to rock up not having bothered to wash my hair or match my underwear like most women, it's just something different and the fans look forward to it, they can't wait, it's an event for them, 'What colour is she going to wear?' 'What's she going to look like?'
"I love that, it's adding more eyes on the sport. For whatever reason they're watching, they're going to be seeing the fight and saying 'Pretty chicks can fight'.
"Younger girls who are watching and think boxing is only for women who look masculine or whatever, they'll know different."
Bridges is already in Philadelphia training for the biggest bout of her young career, that only began in 2019.
Women's combat sports did not become legal in NSW until 2008, by which time Bridges had already taken her path to bodybuilding.
"But I've always loved fighting - fighting in the street, fighting in the gym, whatever," Bridges said.
"So when I was happy with what I'd achieved in my bodybuilding I thought let's do it, I want to bash chicks, f--- people up."
And her tenacious spirit was revealed instantly.
In the first round of her debut fight against Mahiecka Pareno, Bridges slipped and snapped her ankle.
She bit into her mouthguard, and on one leg won the next two rounds to claim victory before being rushed to hospital and enduring six months of rehabilitation.
"I wasn't going to lose," Bridges said.
She had balanced her boxing and teaching career for ensuing fights, but after last week's victory over Carol Earl in Condell Park to claim the Australian super-bantamweight title, Bridges could finally divulge her big secret.
"[Promoter] Eddie Hearn had called me two weeks before to tell me about the title fight, but I couldn't say anything, I had to remain focused on Carol because a loss would have thrown everything out the window," Bridges said.
"Carol is one tough woman, but I got the job done."
Having moved to a temporary teaching arrangement, Bridges has cleared her schedule and made boxing a priority, preparing to possibly be based overseas for another six months.
"I feel like when I win this world title fight, it's going to push me to the top of superstardom," Bridges said.
"I'm one of the only known female fighters from Australia, you talk to America, you talk to UK fans - I have more UK fans than probably Shannon Courtenay does, I'm one of the most popular female fighters in the UK.
"And I just know that having this fight, and winning, will definitely prove a lot of naysayers and doubters wrong, and will probably turn a lot of the haters to say 'You know what, this chick is the real deal'.
"When that happens and I become more global, it's going to be a serious business, it will open more doors for me.
"I'll obviously have title defences, I'd love to have a defence in Australia.
"I'm 35, I'm not going to be doing this forever. I'm going to have a short and sweet career and make the most of it.
"I've already done that. There's boxers in Australia that have been around a lot longer than me, I literally turned pro two years ago and I'm more known than any other boxer in Australia.
"Give me another two years, and some fights people can really respect me for, and I think I'm going to really put women's boxing on the map in Australia."
Originally published as 'Being pretty doesn't equal being dumb'