Shannon Courtenay says world title rival Ebanie Bridges is 'flaunting her body' to promote herself

Ebanie Bridges (right) punches pads
Ebanie Bridges (right) has been accused of "flaunting" her body by rival Shannon Courtenay

British boxer Shannon Courtenay has criticised Australian rival Ebanie Bridges for "flaunting her body" and says she will instead work to promote boxing "for the right reasons".

The pair fight for the vacant WBA world bantamweight title in London on Saturday.

"I feel like women's boxing needs more eyes on the sport," said Bridges, who has worn lingerie to past weigh-ins.

"We need to do whatever we can," the 34-year-old maths teacher added.

"This same way I've got noticed is the same way I'm getting this fight noticed.

"What does matter is what happens in the ring. If we can get as many people as possible to watch the fight, then Shannon and I can show to a more diverse number of viewers that women can fight.

"I think me winning this world title will show people you don't have to be like everybody else to achieve these goals. That's what I'm going for."

Courtenay, who has won six of her seven fights to date, said: "I can understand why she's saying she wants to get more eyes on the sport, but I want to get more viewers for the correct reasons.

"[Irish two-weight world champion] Katie Taylor didn't work her backside off to pave the way for women like Ebanie and me to talk about underwear."

The 27-year-old added: "I've got a 14-year-old sister, my coaches have daughters. I want to be a good role model and show them hard work and motivation gets you here. Not flaunting your body."

A world title would cap a remarkable journey for Courtenay, who has previously spoken to BBC Sport about battling her weight, and giving up a party lifestyle and cigarette habit before turning her focus to boxing.

"This is more than just a fight - this is an opportunity for me to change my entire life, my family's life," added Courtenay.

"This is the reason I got into boxing and I'm excited to achieve my dream Saturday night."

Shannon Courtenay
Shannon Courtenay hopes to become a world champion for the first time
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