On Saturday night, a hop, skip and jump over a puddle away in Michigan, USA, Team Southpaw Jab’s Hannah Rankin makes her first fight under the Salita Promotions banner. The super welterweight became Scotland’s first female world champion when she won the IBO Title in her hometown Glasgow back in June. She has a six rounder on the undercard of former opponent Claressa Shields’ attempt to become the fastest three weight world champion against Ivana Habazin (herself a sparring partner of Rankin’s).
Hannah will meet Chicago born, California based Erin Toughill, who goes by “Irish” in the ring. Though two Celts fighting is likely to make for a pleasing scrap, if Rankin is on form there is no reason she’ll allow Toughill to reach the end of the fight.
Erin fought Raquel Miller for the North American Boxing Federation Female Middlweight Title only this year, in May. She was stopped in the seventh. She has also competed at world level, for the WBO and WIBA World Super Middleweight Titles- against Laila Ali, no less. Toughill was stopped in the third round. That fight was fourteen years ago.
Now forty two, Toughill has fought four times since that loss to Ali; she won her fight afterwards, outpointing Laura Ramsey before being stopped in the first round of an immediate rematch. There then followed a thirteen year lay-off, which is fine, we all have lives to lead. It’s just that most of our lives don’t involve being an MMA fighter and American Gladiator- which Erin has done during that time. Even still, her record since returning earlier this year is 0-2. Most recently that early NABF title loss to Miller.
Hannah Rankin is younger, and although she took a little time to get going in her last fight she still won a world title that night. Claressa Shields couldn’t stop her last November- despite the needle between them causing her to promise to. Their animosity is something our own Chris Waddams believes could, and should be reignited.
I have no doubt Erin Toughill will have a go on Saturday, she’s clearly a hard, fit lady. I have even less doubt Hannah will have a go, too. The cynic in me says that absolutely no way does a promoter sign a world champion and then match them in a six rounder against someone who’ll do anything other than make them look good.
The part of me which makes predictions says that no matter what Toughill throws at Rankin, the Scot has proven she’ll not wilt. She’ll want to, need to make a statement in order to pursue another big fight. Team Rankin are no fools, they know that. Hannah Rankin to win, and to win in style.