Hannah Rankin is looking to create Scottish women boxing history on April 7th in Paisley when she aims to be the first female Commonwealth champion from Scotland.
Rankin will face a tough South African Julie Tshabalala who has fought for a world title against current WBF super welterweight champion Noni Tenge back in 2015.
As well as boxing, Rankin continues to play her music as part of an orchestra.
We caught up with Rankin to discuss her upcoming fight, her music and fighting on home turf.
You last fought at the end of January against Klaudia Vigh. You won in under a minute.
Did you expect the fight to be over so quick?
I definitely didn’t expect it to be over so quickly but I’m pleased I executed the game plan we had been working on and it was obviously effective!
That was your first fight in Scotland, how did it feel to fight in front of your home fans?
It was amazing to finally fight in Scotland! It was probably the most nervous I have ever been before a fight as it was the first time a lot of my extended family had seen me box and I wanted to put on a good performance.
You are looking to make a bit of history by winning the Commonwealth title, the first female Scot to win, by taking on Julie Tshabalala.
What do you know about your opponent? How do you see the fight playing out?
Yes, really excited to be making a little bit of history and in Scotland so that’s great! Julie is currently ranked above me and has fought for two world titles and has been South African champ three times. I know she’s tough and I see this being a good challenging fight for me. I don’t expect it to end as early as the last one but I do expect it to be a good competitive fight where I will get a chance to showcase some of the things I have been working on.
You now live in London, had you been boxing before you moved there?
Before I moved to London I did Tae-kwon-do when I was younger but I stopped this when I got into my music. I’ve always enjoyed combat sports and find the gym a little boring so near the end of my undergraduate degree, I got back into things by doing some Muay Thai boxing at the Griphouse in Glasgow. When I moved down to London to start my Masters I wanted to continue training so I kept training in Thai. Then I met Derek Williams, the former European and Commonwealth Heavyweight champ, who is now my manager and he made me fall in love with boxing. From there I did 4/5 white collar fights with my coach Noel Callan and then I decided to turn professional as I didn’t want to go down the amateur route and I wanted to continue boxing with my team.
As you started out TKD and Thai boxing, are we likely to see you compete in Thai at all or even dabble in MMA?
I often get asked that as I also enjoy Brazilian Jui Jitsu when I get time off from boxing! However, I don’t think I will end up in MMA as there is so much to learn in just boxing alone, let alone another two disciplines!
You are a musician as well as a boxer, playing in orchestra’s, how do your musician peers react when they find out that you box?
I get a mixed reaction from the musical world. Half of them think it’s really cool that I box and have another career that I am also focused and driven in. The other half feel that its a potential danger to my music career as I might hurt my hands and aren’t so keen on the idea. Most people are supportive though when I tell them more about it and how I have a great team helping me to achieve my goals. This is not always the case in the music world and it’s a part of boxing that I love. You might be the one in there on your own on the night but it’s your team that gets you there, prepped and ready and work with you on the night to get that win!
Does boxing help you at all with your music or vice versa?
Boxing massively helped me with my music performance as I used to suffer from performance nerves but being in the ring and avoiding getting punched in the face with a very loud audience shouting at you, kind of put those nerves into perspective and now I’m much more relaxed about my musical performing. Music has helped my boxing as well as I often use rhythms from music to help me get the combinations going and the power landing on the right shots. It was my coach Noel who suggested I used musical rhythms to help and its been a great idea.