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PREVIEW: Hannah Rankin vs. Julie Tshabalala

by George Storr

Having made her pro debut less than a year ago Hannah Rankin (4-1), AKA ‘The Classical Warrior’, seems destined for big things. April seventh will see her take the next step in a potentially meteoric rise as she takes on South Africa’s Julie Tshabalala (6-4-2) for the Commonwealth Super Welterweight Title.

Hannah Rankin

Her ring moniker, ‘The Classical Warrior’, stems from her other work as a music teacher and classical bassoonist and in the ring Rankin has come a long way, in a remarkably short time. Only coming to boxing after finishing her degree, she gained some experience in white collar fights before turning over as a pro. She’s showing great promise under trainer Noel Callan, though, and the Glaswegian stopped her last opponent in only 59 seconds.

Tshabalala will represent Team Southpaw Jab member Hannah’s stiffest test to date and is the three-time South African welterweight champion. The Johannesburg fighter has also, still more notably, challenged for world titles at middleweight and super welterweight, with one of those challenges coming against none other than Germany’s Christina Hammer (22-0). Rankin has shared a ring with Hammer too however, albeit only in a sparring capacity.

Despite possessing more experience than her Scottish opponent Tshabalala has a mixed record and her last fight resulted in a loss to an opponent with a less than impressive record, on paper at least. While this blotchy form may come as a comfort to Rankin the relative lack of information on her opponent won’t, and there’s little available by way of footage of the South African.

Rankin’s recent form, star-studded sparring record, and her position as the home fighter, will see her enter the bout as favourite. However questions remain over Tshabalala and the bout could be an interesting one.

The Commonwealth Title bout will appear on MTK Scotland’s Evolution promotion at The Paisley Lagoon Centre. Also featuring on the card is Celtic Super Middleweight Champion, Tommy Philbin, and an array of Scottish talent, including Stephen Tiffney and Martin Taylor among others. Philbin is targeting the British Super Middleweight Title and will be aiming to make a statement in Paisley.

If Rankin secures victory and the Commonwealth Title against Tshabalala, it may open doors for her in the division, but will also bring a higher standard of opposition. One appealing theoretical match-up would be a fight with Lancastrian welterweight, Stacey Copeland (4-0). Watch this space for an exciting female fighter from north of the border.

Hannah has a Just Giving page to help her to fund the fight, which can be visited by clicking on this text.

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