By Ian Aldous: On June 15th 2019, Hannah Rankin etched her name in history. The twenty-nine year-old became Scotland’s inaugural female world champion when she captured the IBO World super-welterweight championship by outpointing Sarah Curran (now Sarah French) in front of a sold-out crowd, live on BBC Scotland.
The fighting pride of Scotland kept busy with a non-title win in the U.S. then bravely chose to make the maiden defence of her crown away from the comforts of home, when Team Rankin travelled to Malta for a championship bout against Patricia Berghult. Unfortunately for Hannah, she was dropped within the first few seconds of the fight, but battled back from an early points deficit to suffer a narrow defeat on the scorecards.
Following the competitive nature of last November’s bout, an immediate rematch appeared to make sense. However, the Swedish champion hasn’t fought since and made no comment to any media until very recently.
“You know who I want to fight. I want a rematch with Patricia Berghult,” Rankin assertively says. “I’ve been calling for it for a while now. Finally, she decided she was going to say she was not avoiding me, but I don’t believe that.”
“Her and her team don’t really talk or say much. They’re not promoting the fact that she’s a world champion. They don’t do anything in the media and I would think if you’re a world champion, you should be out there promoting yourself and be ready to go for opportunities and fights, especially if the person you won the world title off wants the rematch. It was a close fight and there were things I was frustrated about. My mistake at the beginning; but I think I dropped her later in the fight and it wasn’t counted as a knockdown. I think I deserve my option for a rematch, but I’m not going to spend a year chasing after someone who’s too scared to have a fight with me.”
“If her team decides they want it; I’m ready and waiting.”
The proud Scot conceded home advantage for a neutral venue against Berghult and believes a potential fight that the Swede had planned has subsequently fallen through. So, Rankin believes the current champion owes her a rematch. “Everybody knows that I will always take a fight and I’ll never turn down a fight,” she told me. “I’m standing here and saying: ‘Give me the rematch, I gave you the chance to fight me – give me the rematch’. Her and her team are a bit wary, to be perfectly honest.”
Currently, Rankin and her trainer, Noel Callan have been training at Churchill’s Gym in central London. The pair are making the most of it and trying to mould the best version of Hannah Rankin that they possibly can. “Lockdown has been a bit of a blessing in disguise in some ways because I’ve been working on stuff that you never normally have (the) time to pick on little things and work on them.”
“I’d just come off that great win in February and it was a really dominant performance; stopped her in three rounds,” the classically trained musician explained. “I was really pleased with how things were going and looking forward to getting back to the States. There were talks of me fighting in America in May. When we got put on hold – I was a bit gutted actually. I’d just started to get the ball rolling. Noel and I put a plan in on things to work on and focus on. I’ve been working on various things and improving on stuff.”
Rankin is co-managed by Sam Kynoch and Mark Taffet, and promoted by Salita Promotions who recently announced they would run behind closed doors events at the world-famous Kronk Gym in Detroit. “I don’t know any fighter that wouldn’t love to fight in the Kronk gym,” Rankin exclaimed. “That’s just so cool and history itself. That would be amazing. I’ve been speaking to Mark Taffet, who’s my manager over there, and he’s been chatting to Sam here and they’ve been talking about getting me over there. It’s just a case of actually getting me to the States because at the moment, you can’t fly. I’m just waiting for that to be eased off a little bit.”
“There are loads of girls over in the States who are (possibilities) for me as opponents. You’ve got Raquel Miller; I wouldn’t be adverse to the rematch with Alicia Napoleon; you’ve got Logan Holler. There’s a whole group of girls out there and more girls in my weight class in America around 154-160lbs. For me, it’d be great to get over there and I really like fighting in America as well.”