The former boxing-reformed Watford Wild Child had his own successes in the third, landing flush with the counter-brackets in the third, but that couldn’t deter the physically tenacious Bridges from bringing his opponent down in close combat. It was a battle of tenacity from Bridges and light skill from Courtenay. They clashed in the fourth, mostly in the center of the ring, but it was the British fighter who seemed to go forward with her best movement and footwork, allied with cleaner punches.
Then the most significant moment of the fight. A huge right hook to Courtenay’s chin curled Bridges’ legs in the fifth round, although the overseas fighter held his ground. Bridges, her left eye swollen, refused to be refused in the next period, stepping forward and leaving her hands loose, as the British fighter worked on her boxing skills. After six rounds, on my card, I had Courtenay 4-2 in the contest. The action was passionate and intense in the seventh, with Bridges returning to the fight with a good round as they traded leather. Two hooks on the left and a right hand on top testified to the Australian’s desire to become world champion. With his left eye closing, Bridges remained loyal to the Briton as the intense struggle for power continued. Everything seemed square after the eighth round, the fight closing in on one with the greatest reserves of stamina, will and desire.
Relentlessly in action, Courtenay put pressure on the exhausted Sydney fighter, although the Briton was caught wide open with a left hook on the bell. The final round brought out the best of the two warriors, as they gave the last two minutes everything they could, from the depths of their fighting spirit.
Also on the card, Savannah Marshall of Hartlepool defended her WBO women’s middleweight crown against late replacement Maria Lindberg of Sweden. Marshall, the 6ft tall ‘Silent Assassin’, dropped late substitute Lindberg with a long right hand in the second round, then dropped his opponent again in the third, completely towering over the Swede, smoothly alternating between head and body shots.