THE thing with setting goals for yourself is that once they’ve been ticked off, there are always new ones to be achieved, and greater heights to be reached.

That’s certainly the case for Hannah Rankin.

The 32-year-old, as IBO and WBA super welterweight world champion, has already established herself as the best female fighter Scotland has ever had.

Her successful defence of those two belts in May was notable not only for the calibre of her performance but also for the fact that she became the first female fighter to headline Glasgow’s Hydro Arena.

Rankin, though, is never content and she wants to add further to her legacy.

Tonight, the London-based Luss native will make her second defence of the IBO and WBA belts when she takes on Terri Harper in Nottingham and Rankin is desperate to add another successful defence to her resume.

“All of the greats did that, made multiple defences of their titles, and some of the very best boxers of all time have incredible records of not only defending their belts but also adding to them,” she says.

“That’s the goal – you want to be successfully defending your belts as many times as you can and be putting yourself in that position of being world champion for as long as possible. So it is important to me to do multiple defences.”

Rankin, who is fresh off a training camp in Miami with Claressa Shields, is in the form of her life, as demonstrated by her win in Glasgow earlier in the year.

There had been the suggestion following that victory that she would next face Englishwoman Natasha Jonas in what would be a blockbuster bout but Rankin has ensured that she is in a position whereby she is on the receiving end of multiple offers, giving her the luxury of choosing her battles as she wishes.

“Matchroom came in with an offer to defend my titles against Harper and Sky came with an offer to defend my titles against Jonas so I had two offers on the table from the two big promoters in the UK, which is massive.

“To be world champion and to be in the position of choosing what offer I want to take is fantastic,” the super welterweight says.

“I was quite surprised when they offered me Harper but it’s a good defence for me, I think it’s a very good opportunity for me to showcase my skills and show what I’m all about.”

Harper is no slouch. The Englishwoman is a former super featherweight world champion and while Rankin is aware of the quality she possesses, she is in no doubt the step up in weight will prove too great an obstacle for the 25-year-old to overcome.

“She’s a former world champion at the lower weight so she’s a good fighter and I’d never underestimate anyone I get in the ring with. I know she’s been successful at the lower weight but it’s a different thing going up a weight class, I know that myself from when I stepped up to middleweight to fight Savannah [Marshall] and it was tough.

“It’ll be interesting for her to experience that on the night because I’m going to be the bigger, stronger person in there. It’s a step up for her and I’m riding high after a great performance in my last fight.

“Every time I step into the boxing ring, I want to improve as a fighter because I still feel like I’m learning with every fight.

“I don’t have that amateur experience to fall back on but now, I know what my style of fighting is and I’m always getting better so every time I get into the ring, I want to show those improvements.

“I’m representing my team and my country so when I get in there, I want to do myself proud and I fully believe I’m going to do that.”

Rankin has, in recent years, and months in particular, taken women’s boxing in this country to a new level.

She has established herself as one of Scotland’s leading fighters but, she wears the pressure of that status lightly and continues to embrace the fact that her success is likely opening doors for countless young girls across the country.

“I’m very proud to be at the forefront of women’s boxing in this country and I never thought I’d be saying that about myself,” she says.

“When I first started in this sport, all the stories were about me being a classical musician coming into the boxing world and now, the headlines are about Hannah Rankin, Scotland’s first female world champion and about me successfully defending titles and being number three in the world and that’s quite a turnaround from where I started.

“I’ve always got my dad telling me to keep my feet on the ground and my team are very grounded – we’ve all worked so hard to get me into this position and so none of us take anything for granted.

“It’s amazing to be mentioned amongst the top names in women’s boxing in the UK and worldwide so I’m really proud of that.

“I’m a pretty laid back person though so I don’t get carried away and the main thing I focus on is how to improve and become a better fighter.”