Advertiser content editor Craig Borland reacts to the news this week that former Hermitage Academy pupil Hannah Rankin will contest her first world title fight on Scottish soil later this year...

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I WOULD never consider myself to be a particularly huge boxing fan. All the references to the noble art of one-on-one pugilism have never really grabbed my attention, but the news we reported earlier this week, that former Hermitage Academy pupil Hannah Rankin will contest her first world title fight on Scottish soil in June, might just be enough to make me change my mind.

READ MORE: Hannah Rankin to fight for IBO world title in Paisley

Team sports are more my thing. I’ve watched more Scottish football matches than I care to remember, but one which sticks out more than most is the only time I’ve ever seen the Scotland national team play. And it was the women, not the men: a 2012 play-off at Hampden Park against Spain for a place in the following year’s European Championships.

Never having watched women’s football before that game, my expectations, as a grumpy old west-of-Scotland man, were not high.

But – and at the risk of sounding patronising – I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw: a lot less physicality than the men, considerably fewer long and rather aimless punting of the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, and a much higher level of technical ability than I had anticipated.

My knowledge of the technical side of boxing being somewhere short of ‘basic’, I have no idea whether the female version of the sport is as different to the male one as is the case on the football pitch. But I’m more than happy to go on the voyage of discovery that Hannah Rankin is leading.

READ MORE: Rankin launches world title crowdfunding bid

And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Hannah is a lone flag-bearer in terms of Scottish professional female boxing at the moment, but if her efforts inspire more young women to take an interest in the sport, and perhaps even to take it up themselves, the health and sporting prowess of the country can only be the better off for it.

Sport in Scotland may still be considered a largely male preserve, but it’s not short of female role models – think Laura Muir and Eilidh Doyle on the track, Eve Muirhead on the curling rink or Katie Archibald in the cycling arena, to name just a few.

And though the Scotland football team eventually lost that Euro 2013 play-off over two legs, despite holding Spain to a draw in that Hampden match, many of those same players will be in the squad which competes in the country's first women's World Cup finals in France this summer – taking the profile of Scottish women's sport to a whole new level.

Fingers crossed that Hannah Rankin can join them all by becoming a world champion in a few months’ time