Naomi Mannes defeated Hannah Rankin in a controversial split decision to get her hands on the WBA super-welterweight continental title in Liverpool.

With Rankin having lost her most recent bout – a world title fight against Ema Kozin last November – the Scot was under no illusions as to how important it was for her to get back to winning ways against Mannes.

Rankin went into this fight with considerably more experience than Mannes, who was making only her tenth professional appearance, but the German was in no way intimidated by the 33-year-old Scot in the early rounds, with the fight beginning at a frantic pace and both fighters attempting to go on the attack whenever possible.

The opening two rounds of the headline bout were evenly matched, although Rankin’s aggression tended to leave her open to an occasional counter attack from Mannes.

Towards the end of the third round and into the fourth round, however, Mannes began to tire, with the German’s pace dropping while Rankin’s experience and physical conditioning began to shine through and she caught Mannes with several clean shots.

The closing rounds of the eight-round fight were evenly matched, and although Rankin continued to be the more aggressive fighter of the two, Mannes was able to handle everything the Scot was throwing at her leaving the result very much in question as the final bell rang.

In what was the second consecutive loss for Rankin in what could be considered a dubious decision by the judges, Mannes was awarded the win by split decision to hand Rankin her eighth professional loss of her career.

The judges scorecards read 77-76 to Rankin and 77-75 and 79-74 to Mannes.