Hannah Rankin has experienced both the giddy heights of success and the depths of despair throughout the course of her seven-year professional boxing career but she admits the aftermath of her last fight was particularly tough to navigate.

Having lost out on becoming Scotland’s first female unified champion of the world due to a somewhat contentious decision by the judges in her bout against Slovenia’s Ema Kozin last November, she also had to process the death of her grandmother, who passed away in the lead-up to the fight.

Rankin, however, who is a former WBA and IBO world champion, is an experienced beast and is rarely unsure as to how to recalibrate and reset, something she proved amidst one of the most bitter disappointments of her career.

“It wasn’t an easy bounce-back after the Kozin loss because I was frustrated with the decision. A lot of people had me winning that fight and I thought I did enough – I didn’t box to the best of my ability but still, I felt I had done enough.

“And then people are trying to be nice in the aftermath by saying they thought I should have got the decision but that’s so demoralising because it makes you wonder if so many people think that, how could the judges not?,” the 33-year-old says.

“And then with my gran passing away too, there was a lot going on.

“But after that fight, I spent time with my family, mourned my gran and then in January, I went to Montreal to work with the Canadian Olympic team for a month so that was really good. It helped me clear my head and come back to the UK fully focused.”

Rankin has returned, she believes, to something close to her peak physical and mental state and now, she’s ready to return to the ring.

This evening, in Liverpool, the Scot will take on Germany’s Naomi Mannes for the WBA super-welterweight Continental title – it’s a change of opponent from the initial plan to fight Grace Mwakamele from Tanzania – and she admits she’s champing at the bit to get back into action and blow away any cobwebs that may linger from the Kozin bout.

“I feel great – I can’t wait to get in there and put on a show. I want to get that last fight out my system and get another win to my name,” says Rankin who has a 13-7 win-loss record.

“It’s going to be a good night and it’ll be in memory of my gran so I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m really excited to be fighting for the WBA Continental title because it’s always great to have a belt attached to whatever I’m doing.

“Fighting for this title sets me up for fighting for another world title so everything’s on track to getting that world title shot again and that’s my main focus.

“My switch of opponent is pretty typical in this sport so I’m used to these kind of changes but the goal is still the same; to get my arm raised.”

The Herald: Hannah Rankin. Image: Matchbox and Hannah Rankin

We may only be in the fourth month of the year but already, Rankin has almost the entirety of her 2024 meticulously planned out.

Following what she hopes will be a dominant victory against Mannes this evening, Rankin will then begin preparing for a significant challenge outside of the ring.

This summer, the Luss native will be part of the boxing commentary team for the Olympic Broadcasting Company at Paris 2024 and while she’s already dabbled in commentary, something of this scale is, she acknowledges, a different challenge entirely.

She’s quick to point out, however, that more regular commentary work does not mean she has any plans to hang up her gloves and make a permanent move into the media just yet. After all, she’s already laser-focused on becoming world champion once again later this year, ideally with a rematch against Kozin.

“I really enjoy doing commentary and it’ll be very exciting to be a part of Paris,” she says.

“Commentary is something I’d love to do after boxing but this isn’t me starting to think about retiring – this opportunity has just fallen in my lap and I’m absolutely buzzing to be involved.

“I’ve had a lot of tips from people too so hopefully it’ll go well.

“There’s so much to learn, though – the prelims are just me, alone, on the mike so that’s a bit terrifying. My dog, Calvin, has heard a lot of my voice recently with me practicing at home. 

“And then after Paris, I’d be looking at autumn-time for a world title fight.

“I want a rematch with Kozin to put that last result to bed. 

“I desperately want to become world champion again in 2024 and I firmly believe I can do it. I can’t wait to bring another world title back to Scotland later in the year.”