LUSS boxer Hannah Rankin says putting the sport before the business is key to closing the gender pay gap between male and female competitors.

The former Hermitage Academy pupil, who will fight Sarah Curran in Paisley in June for the vacant IBO super-welterweight title in her first shot at a world championship on Scottish soil, says she was well treated in her two fights in the USA last year as challenger to Alicia Napoleon in New York in August and then Claressa Shields in Kansas three months later.

Her comments came after a fierce social media debate, including comments from Shields herself, over whether professional female boxers are as well rewarded in financial terms as they should be in comparison to their male counterparts.

Posting on Twitter on Tuesday, the 28-year-old, who works as a classical musician and teacher alongside her flourishing boxing career, said: “I’m reading a lot on my time line this morning regarding female fighters not getting paid enough.

“We all agree this is true but I think we forget not only is it a business but it’s also about competing, as boxing is a sport. Why would you not take opportunities when they come your way?

“I can honestly say having been to America twice so far as WBC silver champ, I was treated very well by both Claressa Shields and Alicia Napoleon’s teams, and I’m pretty certain I got more than 10 per cent [of the total purse] both times.

“All I’m saying is we should not always put the business over the boxing, as this is a sport as well and we all want to compete at the highest level and see how good we can be. That will in turn eventually break barriers, as is slowly happening.”

The announcement last week of Rankin’s June opponent came just days after she was named winner of the ‘amazing professional sporting achievement’ prize at the No1 Magazine Awards in Glasgow, in a ceremony held on the eve of International Women’s Day.

Rankin’s opponent in June’s bout, meanwhile, will be competing outside the US for the first time in her professional career.

Curran, 25, won the American Boxing Federation’s super-welterweight title by a majority points decision after taking on Bertha Aracil in Indiana last September, and cemented her position with a unanimous points win over Shianne Gist in November.