IF Hannah Rankin were a male boxer she would, she acknowledges, be “rolling in it”. The 29-year-old fighter is in the final few days of preparation for her first world title defence but rather than being comfortable financially as a world champion, as almost all of her male counterparts will be, Rankin still has to combine her training with her day job, as a classical musician.

Rankin has never been in it for the money though.

The Luss woman will face Sweden’s Patricia Berghult in Malta on Wednesday, as she attempts to successfully defend the IBO super welterweight title she won in Paisley in June.

The Swede has an impressive 13-0 record but Rankin, who has eight wins and three losses to her name as a pro, is in confident mood. Following her world title win, the Scot defeated Erin Toughill, a formidable American opponent, in impressive style in Michigan, so Rankin is high in confidence ahead of Wednesday’s bout.

“I’m feeling great – I’m feeling really ready," the 29-year-old said.

"I’ve had a great camp so I’m feeling on point and I’m looking forward to putting a show on. She’s ranked 6th in the WBC at welterweight but she’s stepping up to super-welter to fight me so I think it’ll be a great fight.

"It’s always good to fight an undefeated fighter so I’m looking forward to that.

"She’s had a lot of fights but she’s not fought anybody of great note so I feel like I’ve got more experience than her in big fights because I’ve been in the ring with some of the best fighters in the world. I believe I’ll be stronger, fitter and the more experienced fighter in there.”

Defending a world title is a new experience for Rankin but she is undaunted about the prospect of going in as favourite. And with the interim WBC super welterweight title on the line too, the fight has extra significance.

“It feels amazing to be defending my title. I’m still so proud to have become Scotland’s first-ever female world champion so to be stepping into that ring as a world champion is such an honour," she said.

"And I’ve always wanted to hold the WBC world title so it’s so exciting to be fighting for that too – that gives it an extra dimension.

“My goal was always to become world champion, and then maybe unify the division. So it’s very exciting going forward – I love these challenges.”

As a world champion, Rankin is now grouped with Scotland’s very best athletes, which was highlighted when she won Scotland’s Sportswoman of the Year award earlier this month, pipping Laura Muir to the title.

It is, admits Rankin, somewhat surreal to be beating athletes of such calibre to awards. There is no chance of these accolades going to her head though and despite being a world champion, her day to day life has changed very little in recent months.

“I was incredibly excited to win that award – I was up against some amazing female athletes, especially Laura Muir who is a real inspiration for me. So I was pretty surprised to win it,” she said.

“Day to day, my life hasn’t really changed because I’m still completely focused on what I do. I’m still working really hard in the gym and I’m still striving to achieve great things.

“My dad always says to me to keep my feet on the ground so I keep that in mind.”

Rankin is, arguably, the best prepared she has ever been for this fight. The Scot has been sparring with Claressa Shields, the American Olympic champion who is regarded as the best female pound for pound fighter in the sport.

It is quite an endorsement for Rankin, who was defeated by Shields for the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titles last year, that a fighter of such calibre wants to train with her. And it has paid dividends, with Rankin in no doubt that she is a better fighter now than she was when she won her world title five months ago.

“Claressa and I have the same promoter so we’re stablemates now.

"To be sparring with someone like her is the best thing possible for me. I always say that if you want to be the best, you need to be in there with the best so that has been great for me,” said Rankin.

“I’m definitely a better fighter than I was before my world title fight. Every time I get in the ring, I’m improving. I’m a different fighter every fight so watching me back on video doesn’t really help my opponents.

“So I’m looking forward to trying out some new stuff in this fight.”