HANNAH RANKIN will enter the ring for the biggest fight of her professional boxing career in two weeks’ time when she takes on double Olympic champion Claressa Shields in Kansas.

The former Hermitage Academy pupil, who only turned pro in May 2017, had been due to fight Lisa Garland in London on November 3 – but instead she will now take on a much bigger challenge in the shape of a fight against the reigning IBF and WBA middleweight champion.

Shields, who won back-to-back Olympic golds in the middleweight division in London and Rio and hasn’t lost a fight in her professional career so far, will present the toughest challenge yet for 28-year-old Rankin, who is currently in the US to promote the contest, at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane near Wichita on November 17.

The two came face-to-face at a press conference in New York on Saturday, when promoter Eddie Hearn described Shields as “one of the best fighters in the world, pound for pound”.

Less than three months on from her first fight on American soil, against Alicia Napoleon in Brooklyn in August, Rankin told the assembled boxing media: “It’s an amazing opportunity for me to be over here in New York again, and it’s an amazing opportunity for me to be fighting Claressa.

“It’s a huge fight, the one that I wanted, and I’m really happy I’ve got it – it’s going to be a fantastic fight.

“Both Claressa and I have really aggressive styles and come forward to fight, and I’m looking forward to putting that into action in Kansas.

“I hope you’re ready for it Claressa – I’m ready to go.”

And Rankin wasn’t finished there: later that day she told Ryan Songalia of TheRing Digital on YouTube that Shields would have to be at her best to win the fight, and promised that she’d learned a lot from that first title fight in Brooklyn, against Alicia Napoleon in August.

“That was a great 10 round fight,” she added. “I stepped up two weight classes for that fight – I’m normally a super welterweight and this fight will be at middleweight, so again it’s outside my comfort zone.

“But I learned lots in my last fight so I’m going to bring it all into play on the 17th.

“I hope Claressa brings her A game – I’m certainly going to bring mine. She’s one of the top names in the game and for me that’s why I want to be fighting at the top level.”