Kirstie Bavington plans to conquer the world at welterweight after crossing the pond to spar against a pound-for-pound great.
She’s back home when BCB Promotions return to the Hangar Events Venue, in Wolverhampton, for fight night on Friday March 10. The show will be broadcast live on Fightzone with Rankin’s bout against Logan Holler also being shown on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport App & Website. Find out more at fightzone.uk.
Bavington, from Wolverhampton, is the reigning European champion, in her own right, but left the Black Country last month, for a trip to the United States.
Sparring sessions, in Chicago, came with Jessica McCaskill, who won all of the five major titles (IBO, IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC) at welter, before dropping to super lightweight.
McCaskill challenged to replicate the feat at the lower weight class, too, but was outpointed by Chantelle Cameron in November, so is now on the comeback trail.
Bavington has set her sights on the WBO world welterweight crown, but first goes for a WBA Inter-Continental bauble, which would add to her EBU strap.
She tackles Kandi Wyatt, in a 10-rounder for the vacant honours. The Canadian was a challenger for McCaskill’s world standing, 15 months ago, having been halted in seven.
‘Bavvo’ enters a pro bout for the 12th time on a four-fight winning streak, which began when she took the ‘0’ of both Beccy Ferguson and April Hunter, on points.
The 30-year-old then became European boss, at the expense of Timea Belik, and has already defended the title once, beating Naomi Mannes, completing 10-rounds each time.
She hasn’t been beaten since 2021, taking Sandy Ryan to a six-round distance in the process. The two could be on a collision course, again, trying to reach world level.
Bavington’s pro record currently stands at seven victories, two defeats and a couple of draws, but vast improvements have been made since her 2018 debut.
She said: “I can’t have had any better preparations and the whole trip, to the US, was an amazing experience. They looked after me so well and are such nice people.
“Rick Ramos (Jessica McCaskill’s coach) put it on Twitter, that they were looking for sparring partners, and I got in touch. They wanted someone who is high energy and pressure.
“It’s a nine-hour flight, to Chicago, but it was harder to get used to the time difference (five hours). I had a week there, then a week back at work and fight week I had off.
“I think that we matched well and she’s such a quality operator, in the way that she moves and throws combinations, with fast hands. I was able to replicate that.
“She thanked me for pushing her to the limits, in sparring, so that shows me the level that I’m getting to. Now it’s about me getting my own world title.
“The WBO have just redone their rankings. I was No 4, Jess is vacating the belt (at welterweight), so I should be in a mandatory position. I’ve just got to be patient.
“For now, I want the WBA International title, against a proper world challenger. Jess stopped her and that’s the standard that I’m looking for.
“I’ll be using my brain more and taking a lot of things in there that I learned from sparring with Jess. Hopefully, you will see a different side to me.”
Tickets for the Hangar bill are available, priced at £40 standard or £75 VIP ringside, directly from the boxers or by visiting myfighttickets.com.