Hannah Rankin: “I Am Going Home With That Title

Hannah Rankin: “I Am Going Home With That Title

By Jack Rainbow

“I am going home with that title and I am going to be a two-weight world champion and nothing will stand in my way.”

Hannah Rankin has spent the past few months preparing for one of her toughest fights yet, as she fights for the vacant WBO middleweight title against Hartlepool’s own Savannah Marshall in Newcastle. Despite the difficult few months, Hannah feels in the shape of her life:

“The preparation has been fantastic, actually, I feel ready to go and can’t wait to show people what I have been working on. It is going to be an exciting fight, and I think a lot of people are looking forward to this fight, it is the first of our weight class for women in the UK and it will be exciting for people to watch”

Despite having gone the distance with one of the GOATs in Claresa Shields, and being a former IBO world title owner, Hannah is a big underdog with the bookies at 5-1. She merely views this as good value though:

“I actually didn’t know that thanks for letting me know! First of all, it is great we can bet on women’s fight finally. That is great for me because I am going there to win and I am going to get that title so it would be a wise bet for people to make for sure!”

The entire boxing world got flipped on its head by the COVID pandemic, stopping fighters from earning income and training. Luckily for Hannah, she managed to fight in Feburary just before the outbreak:

“I was so lucky to get a fight in just before it all closed down. I said to my manager in Scotland that I want to be out on one of your shows over new year, meaning I had to work over Christmas, but I am so glad I stuck to my guns and I was so lucky to get that opportunity that I know not every fighter got. But I’m glad to be back out now, as I am normally quite an active fighter so only one fight in 6 months is quite a long time for me to be honest.”

Despite being the only world title fight on the card, this fight is only a co-main. This has been seen as controversial, due to the magnitude of the fight, with multiple pundits clamoring for this to become the main event. Hannah agrees, but is equally encouraged by the growth of women’s boxing in the UK:
“So for me, I would always say a world title fight should headline a card, women or man. But as far as I am concerned here in the UK we are still getting to grips with women’s boxing becoming the norm. Since my last fight though even, people have come up to me and talked about women’s boxing which is fantastic. This is just how things are in the UK, unfortunately, we are just a little bit behind, but I could definitely see it being a part of the future.”

Hannah’s passion for women’s boxing was obvious. It is clearly behind men’s boxing in terms of viewership and many journalists and pundits alike have speculated this could be due to the two minute round system, which statistically has proven to limit knockouts and Hannah feels even makes it less safe:

“Absolutely. I feel really passionate about this, to be honest. Women’s boxing is starting to develop and grow and getting to a point where people are like should we even call it women boxing rather than boxing. When we get to the world title level we should be allowed to fight three minute rounds. Its ten, two minute rounds for a European title and the same for a world title. People who aren’t ready for ten threes are getting pushed for world title fights because there isn’t that development.”

“I do think we are more accepted as a part of boxing, so therefore we need to allow the talent to grow. A lot of fights at world title levels wouldn’t have gone the distance if they had been three minutes. I’m not saying I want more knockouts but it would mean people would be finished rather than getting battered for ten, two minute rounds.”

Hannah has openly spoken about how she feels best at 154lbs, and this fight takes place 6 pounds heavier at 160lbs. However, she feels she will have the advantage with Marshall cutting down to middleweight for the first time.

“So for me, I have been at the championship weight at 160lbs and 154lbs. I am a 154lbs fighter but actually having fought at 160lbs, I know my body and where it needs to be. I feel in the shape of my life its not much of a difference for me. It is different for her she is having to come down, but I am coming in strong for this”

Hannah did make it clear she feels that Marshall will be professional and make weight. However, she does believe the cut could affect her late into the fight:

“She has never made 160lbs in her whole career. It isn’t something she has done on a regular basis, she has never done it. Meanwhile, I am really experienced and have made loads of different weights and know exactly how I will feel in the championship rounds. It is a definite advantage for me but don’t get me wrong I think she will make the weight, it is how she does when we get into the deep dark waters of the fight.”

In the past week Marshall came out and stated the only thing that could stop her winning the world title was COVID, which many found dismissive of Hannah. When asked for a response, Hannah made it explicitly clear that Marshall was forgetting one other thing that could stop her:

“Yeah me! I am going home with that title and I am going to be a two-weight world champion and nothing will stand in my way. “

The growth of COVID in the UK over the past few weeks have again put the country in a lurch. Hannah is still hopeful however, that her fight will go ahead:

“I haven’t heard anything. Every day I wake up and pray that it doesn’t get cancelled! I was listening to the announcements yesterday and I hope it doesn’t get in the way. Eddie is very professional and will have everything in place for it to be behind closed doors. I cant see there being an audience or it being delayed again as it has been delayed already. If they can find any sort of way around it I’m sure they will”

When listening to Marshall speak about Hannah, it does seem as if she believes this fight should be straightforward. Hannah hopes to be underestimated, however:

“I really hope she is underestimating me. The simple fact of the matter is all of her opponents have had last minute notice and haven’t actually been her weight. This is the first time she has someone stepping in who has had a proper training camp and will weight the same as her, I don’t think she is truly aware of that fact. I have power in my hands too so for her it will be an experience and eye-opening for her. I hope she underestimates me because she will get a horrible shock on the night.”

When asked for a prediction Hannah kept it simple:

“My prediction is I win by stoppage!”

On October 17th, two of the UK’s finest female boxers will meet in the ring to determine who becomes the latest British world champion. Although an underdog according to the bookies, Hannah exuberated confidence in a manner that cannot be faked. If this version turns up in Newcastle, expect a war.

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