SOCIAL distancing and self-isolating are helping bring people closer together. Not in the literal sense, of course, but instead through the growing use of modern communication channels that allow the sort of one-to-one conversations between individuals that don’t happen too often in the real world.

It has created a scenario where an aspirant boxer or an amateur fitness fanatic can now receive a tailored training programme from a former boxing world champion. And allows a novice musician to receive personal tuition from the comfort of their own living room from a classically-trained expert.

On hand to deliver both is the versatile and talented Hannah Rankin. Scotland’s first, and so far only, female world boxing champion has had to temporarily place on hold her own aspirations to regain her belt to adapt to an ever-changing world.

Having been a music teacher long before the current crisis began, the Luss fighter is now also offering remote training sessions for anyone looking to maintain their fitness while stuck indoors during the current pandemic.

Most boxers only get paid when they fight and, with a return to the ring not likely for a while, self-employed Rankin has had to diversify so she can keep paying the bills.

“I’ve been doing music and theory lessons via Skype for while now,” she says. “So I was already set up and had a handle on how it all works prior to the current situation.

“The other day I did a fitness training session with a client and we did that one via a What’s App video call.

“I also work with a company that takes boxing, yoga and other fitness classes into offices and, with that out for the time being, we are now also offering those services online. We use Zoom [video conferencing] meaning a lot of people can sign up to take part at once.

“So the technology is there now that allows you to connect with people and work with them without having to be standing right in front of them.

“It’s a lifesaver for me as it’s been a bit of a mad dash to get things sorted out after I lost almost all of my usual work. I was meant to be playing five concerts this month and all of them got cancelled.

“And of course there’s no boxing happening for the foreseeable future. So it’s about trying to adapt as best as you can to difficult circumstances.”

Rankin, though, has not shied away from her responsibilities as a role model and public figure. On top of her paid-for music and fitness lessons, she also regularly provides free social media videos to help anyone struggling with their mental health.

“I’ve been trying to also make a few short clips online of exercises that people can do on their own at home,” she added. “It’s important to me that people have a healthy mindset at the moment. What’s going on will be affecting people physically but also mentally and we have to be aware of that.

“I work for a company called Reset. They’re a health and well-being group and I’m a guru on these things for them, speaking about mindfulness and managing your mental health. So I feel it’s important that I share something every day where people can stay active. I’d love to be able to make all my fitness training sessions available for free but I’m not making any other money at the moment and I’ve still got to pay my rent!

“But I still want to reassure people who might be having a stressful time that they can always get in touch and I’ll help them in any way I can. It’s good to talk to people, stay active and release endorphins that can help keep their spirits up.

“Sporting figures should be there to help people however we can. Part of our job is to stay healthy and well and to offer guidance to anyone who might be struggling. As role models I think that’s important.”

Like the rest of the world, the spread of the virus has taken its toll on Rankin’s personal life. Based in London, she has been estranged from her fiancé Mike for the past three weeks while trips home to Luss are also off for the time being.

A return to boxing, though, is never far from the 29 year-old’s mind. Having lost her IBO belt to Patricia Berghult in November, the possibility of a rematch is keeping her motivated during this difficult period.

“It’s a tough time for all boxers as we’re not earning and you don’t have a fight date to work towards,” added Rankin. “But I’m still fully focused on getting my world title back. I want that rematch with Berghult and all of my own training now is being done with a view to being ready for that whenever it comes."

- Hannah can be contacted via Twitter @Team_Rankin