Shannon Courtenay crowned WBA Bantamweight World Champion
Shannon Courtenay was crowned the new WBA Bantamweight World Champion after defeating Australia's Ebanie Bridges on points following a punishing battle.
The pair were embroiled in a heated build-up but it was the Watford fighter who had the final word, becoming Britain's latest World Champion by securing a unanimous decision with scores of 97-94, 98-92 and 98-92.
“Amazing. I don’t want to cry. Amazing," said Courtenay. "I feel like my jab won me the fight to be honest. My conditioning, my attrition, all of the hard work. My two coaches Charlie and H kill me on a daily basis.
"They kill me in the gym. I hate them for it, but it bloody paid off. My nice jab, my fitness and my conditioning won me that fight.
"I have to give credit to her because that was a bloody good fight. She was tougher than I thought she’d be. I knew if I stuck to my boxing I’d win. I had to keep listening to Charlie – he kept saying, ‘box, box, box’. When I was getting into a war it was stupid of me. The jab won me the fight.
"There was respect before I got in the ring because anybody that gets in the ring deserves respect. I now have more respect for her. When it was a shootout that was my own stupidity. I’ve come a long way. I’ve said it all week. Tonight is proof that anyone can turn their life around.
"I’m a different person to who I was back then. I’m a World Champion baby! I’m wearing this belt everywhere. This is such a proud moment for me. This is such a good example to young girls that you can turn your life around. I can’t put it into words."
The former Finchley and Islington boxer now appears set to face compatriot Rachel Ball - who inflicted her only defeat in August - but can first bask in the glory of world-title status earned in a way that underlined her natural fighting spirit.