It has just been announced that #TeamSouthpawJab’s Hannah Rankin, 5-2 (1), will fight Olympic gold medallist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 6-0 (2), in Kansas, USA for Shields’ IBF and WBA world middleweight titles, as well as the interim WBC world title. The fight is due to go ahead on November 17th, being broadcast on the adventurous new Matchroom USA platform DAZN, and presumably on Sky Sports over here in the United Kingdom.
Since turning pro only last year, 28 year old Rankin has shot to world level; winning the WBC Silver middleweight title in June, then pushing WBA super middleweight champion Alicia Napoleon all the way in a thriller two months later. The London based, proudly Scottish fighter hailing from Luss, came to boxing via white collar, and has quickly progressed under trainer Noel Callan, and Team Rankin grew bigger just recently: teaming up with with Sam Kynoch and Kynoch Boxing under a management deal. Noel leaves nothing to chance, and is constantly, carefully scheming and planning tactics and routes to big fights behind the scenes. His Machiavellian machinations have paid off big time here.
Hannah and Shields have a bit of previous, when a Twitter feud earlier this year caused some competitive, stern words to be exchanged in 140 characters. Since then Hannah has shown she belongs at the top of the women’s code, and Claressa saw that up close, having attended the Napoleon fight.
Shields’ boxing CV could not be more different to Rankin’s. The precocious and outspoken Flint, Michigan native won Olympic Gold at the London 2012 games (which was the subject of a documentary, T-Rex) as a teenager, and won her first world title in only her third professional fight. Most recently outscoring Hanna Gabriels having moved down to middleweight, Claressa holds the IBF and WBA titles up for grabs on November 17th. The fight represents not only the toughest of Rankin’s career so far, but also in terms of prestige and exposure on the world stage, arguably the biggest fight a British woman has ever competed in.
Will this task phase the articulate, intelligent Scot? Will it hell. Speaking to Southpaw Jab she said, “We have big plans, I’m going to take those belts and it’s going to be one hell of a fight.” The women are of similar size on paper, though Hannah is known for her aggression in the ring, ability to take a shot and is confident that everything has come together nicely for her, “The Shields fight has worked out pretty much as I wanted. The money is what I asked for, and I’m getting bigger and stronger this camp so I think it’s perfect timing.”
Of course everyone at Southpaw Jab are incredibly happy for Hannah, and confident she will have her hand raised in a historic night for British boxing. And the NEW!