Glasgow & West Scotland

Hannah Rankin: The classical musician who is a boxing world champion

Scotland's Hannah Rankin Image copyright SNS
Image caption Hannah Rankin won the IBO super-welterweight title with a 96-94 victory over America's Sarah Curran

Hannah Rankin made history in June when she became the first Scottish woman to win a boxing world title.

She put the country on the map at the sport's highest level when she was crowned IBO super welterweight world champion.

But the 28-year-old who packs a punch in the professional sporting world can just as easily be found in the woodwind section of an orchestra, or giving concerts to residents in care homes.

Hannah, who grew up on the family's farm in Luss, near Loch Lomond, is successfully living two very different careers at the same time.

'Discipline appealed to me'

And believe it or not, she says, one helps the other.

Image copyright Hannah Rankin
Image caption Hannah is also a professional musician and thinks the discipline and training involved in boxing is similar to studying music

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Mornings with Stephen Jardine, Hannah said "The discipline and training of boxing appealed to me.

"It's just like music - it requires hours of practice. You have to be competitive and in a way it's a chance to perform."

An accomplished bassoonist, she attended the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then completed a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

It was in London that she discovered boxing.

She said: "I was doing it for fitness. I really enjoyed going to the classes. It was a great way to get a sweat on and I fell in love with it a little bit.

"So I did some white collar fights for charities and then wanted to take it a bit further and went down the professional route.

"As a child I did taekwondo and liked contact sport. The discipline of the training appealed to me."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hannah started boxing in a fitness class

Her coach, Noel Callan, was warned to take special care of her valuable hands.

Hannah said: "One of the first things I said to him was 'I have a classical music career, will you take good care of my hands', so he always specially wrapped my hands to look after them."

The bout in Paisley on 15 June was her 10th fight and her third attempt at a world title.

She previously lost world title bouts at super-middleweight and middleweight in the United States before a third attempt in front of a home crowd in Scotland.

The fighter was a unanimous winner, with the judges scoring the 10-round fight 96-94 in her favour.

Nerve-wracking

She said: "It was such an important night for me. To be able to fight at home was one of the best things ever.

"As a boxer, to fight for a world title in your home country in front of your own people is something really, really special and we all strive to get that opportunity.

"I was finally fighting at my true weight. It was a really exciting experience and one of my most nerve-wracking fights."

Image copyright SNS Group
Image caption Hannah Rankin took on Sarah Curran for the vacant IBO world super-welterweight title

Hannah won the title with a unanimous points decision over American Sarah Curran. It was just few days before the sixth anniversary of the death of her mother.

She said the sport helped her through the toughest bout of her life - losing her mum Clare to cancer.

She dedicated her world title victory to her and says the sport helped her at a vital time.

She said: "My mum was diagnosed with cancer and it was a very rapid decline unfortunately. We lost her six months later.

"During that time my dad said I should try to go to the gym to clear my head.

"Boxing was a great way to switch off but also to get rid of the frustration and anger. And it really helped me with the grieving process once my mum passed away."

Image caption Hannah dedicated her victory to her late mum Clare

The achievement won her two weeks off from the gym but she is now back in training to defend her world title in November.

She has been given the nickname "The Classical Warrior", a name she quite likes as it marries her two passions together.

She still has a full musical career, performing freelance with professional orchestras, teaching music to children in schools and performing in her quintet Coriolis in care homes and schools.

She also encourages other females to get involved in her sport.

"I really hope young girls are inspired to get involved in boxing and to be an inspiration to them," she said. "I'm so lucky to have two careers that I love. If my bassoon's driving me mad, I go down to the gym and if boxing's driving me mad, I go to my bassoon.

"That's a balanced life. Music is something I can fall back on at any time in my career and my life."

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