Women’s boxing has come a ‘massive path’ and COVID helped get there, says Hannah Rankin, ahead of Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano fight | UK News

It wasn’t long ago that Jane Couch, Britain’s first female professional boxer, had to go to court to win the right to fight, with the British Boxing Board of Control claiming that “women were too fragile to box and that they bruised easily.”

Couch won that case and now just over two decades on two women is making more boxing history.

Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano will be the first women’s fight to headline the iconic Madison Square Garden.

The Irish world number one will be defending her four world titles against Puerto Rico’s seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano and Taylor isn’t wrong when she says it’s the best fight in the world right now – male or female.

Boxing is changing rapidly and two-time Scottish world champion Hannah Rankin says much of that change is down to Taylor.

“It’s come a huge journey. I started boxing six years ago and the thought of two women headlining Madison Square Garden, everyone would have laughed, so for this to happen now is a testament to how much people have behind women’s boxing,” Rankin mentioned.

“We have to give Katie Taylor huge props, she really put women’s boxing front and center. Every female boxer out there, we all love Katie.

“She’s just brilliant, she’s shown an incredible level of ability and talent – it’s got people interested in the sport.”

But Luss farmer’s daughter Loch Lomond has a strong following and her title defense next month will be the first time a female fighter has made headlines in Scotland – with the fight being moved to the bigger venue in Glasgow , the OVO Hydro, after the original place sold out in minutes.

Katie Taylor (L) and Amanda Serrano are expected to fight on Saturday night

Ironically, she thinks the lockdown has helped the sport in this country.

“The pandemic has actually been very good for women’s boxing,” she said.

“We had a captive audience sitting at home, they couldn’t go anywhere, there wasn’t a lot of sport on TV, and Sky Sports and Matchroom were putting on women’s fights.

“Each of them fought – 10 rounds of uninterrupted warfare for each of them.

“People sat at home and thought this was exciting, we could watch more of this and all of a sudden you have female fighters becoming household names and that was a huge step forward.”

A professional musician as well as a boxer

Hannah isn’t your average sportswoman, she’s also a professional musician with a degree from the Royal College of Music, but she won’t touch her bassoon while she’s in the countdown to a fight.

“Music has a lot of emotional ties for me with my family, especially my mother who passed away, so with the classical side, I try to stay away while I’m at training camp,” explained Rankin.

Hannah Rankin
Rankin to become Scotland’s first female fighter headliner

“I don’t want to think about those personal and emotional connections. But what it takes to play an instrument takes a lot of stamina, which people don’t realize, especially wind and brass instruments and you have to put a lot of energy into it, so with all my training it would be too much.”

She can’t even practice with music because she’s too sensitive to rhythm, but she admits that after her fights, her fingers are itchy to play her bassoon again.

“Boxing saved me”

However, it is boxing that she credits with coming to her rescue after her mother passed away shortly after starting a masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music.

“My mum was diagnosed with cancer at the end of my first term there and I needed an outlet to release my frustrations and anger, so the boxing gym became my second home,” Rankin said.

Hannah Rankin is also a professional musician
Rankin is also a professional musician

“I was grateful to my boxing family and they were there for me when my mother passed away and helped me through the grief – boxing saved me.”

If she hadn’t come prepared to defend her WBO and IBO super welterweight titles, Rankin would have been ringside in New York this weekend as a fan.

“It’s a really exciting fight with two completely different styles,” she said.

“I’ve got Amanda winning – later in the fight Amanda will be strong, but early on we’ll see Katie dominating. It’s going to be epic.”

Britain's top boxer and five-time world champion, Jane Couch, after collecting her MBE from the Prince of Wales during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Britain’s five-time world champion Jane Couch received an MBE for services to sport in 2007

Women’s boxing still has a long way to go before the awards catch up with the men, but it’s still worth celebrating this moment in history for boxing and women’s sport.

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