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Hannah Rankin: ‘The aim is to keep inspiring people’

Hannah Rankin
Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA
Being a fighter is not easy as a woman but it’s something I love to do, writes Hannah Rankin

IT’S great to be fighting for a world title here in the UK. It’s a high-profile fight but most of all, I’m grateful to be fighting in these difficult times. My preparation for Savanah Marshall has gone really well, all things considered. I was really lucky to have a private space where I could train during lockdown. I wasn’t clawing the walls in my tiny little flat, which I share with three other people.

Normally I go to Europe or America for sparring but this time that hasn’t been possible so I’ve had a lot of rounds with the lads, it’s been good. Sparring is always tricky, particularly in my weight class because there’s not many other British girls around. I do a lot with Sandy Ryan and Lauren Price, two of our top level girls, but when I can go to America there are so many more girls to work with. That’s why I travel, I like to experience as many different styles as possible.

Finding the money to travel is always difficult. There’s not many women boxers out there who are not trying to juggle another job with being a boxer. I managed to get some sponsorship for this camp, which took some pressure off and all the places I work are really understanding about my fighting career. I’ve always reinvested any money I’ve made from the sport back into my boxing career.

Much has been said about the pay that women get. It’s safe to say we don’t get anything like what the guys earn. When I fought Claressa Shields for the unified middleweight championship, you might think the pay would be up there in the hundreds of thousands but that’s not the reality, we’re down in the tens of thousands. But as the interest rises in the women’s code, our pay is starting to slowly increase.

It’s a very exciting time to be involved in women’s boxing, we are starting to see the turn. Since Matchroom’s Fight Camp, interest has increased, even the general public are now interested. That’s a great point. The aim is to keep inspiring people.

There is still some opposition to women’s boxing, sadly. Every sport has a men’s version and a women’s version. Why shouldn’t there be women’s boxing? I don’t believe it should all be under the same umbrella, men’s boxing and women’s boxing are not the same thing, there are differences. But we’re all working as hard as each other.

You will always get people that don’t want to watch women’s boxing and I completely respect that opinion. That’s their choice. But they shouldn’t say that I shouldn’t be doing something because they don’t want to watch it. That’s not how it works – what I do is my decision.

I genuinely love this sport, it’s not just something I’m having a go at. But if you don’t enjoy it, fair enough, don’t watch it.

It’s difficult. There is always a perception that as well as fighters, we have to also be nurturers and live up to that old image of what women should be. On one hand, we’re bad ass fighters, on the other, we’re women. The next question after I tell someone I’m a fighter is always, ‘What is your real job? What else do you do?’ It would be nice if they just said, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ Just accept that I’m a professional fighter.

The full interview with Hannah Rankin can be heard on the latest podcast (available on Thursday October 15).

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