Young boxing journalist Ben White traces the rise and rise of Hannah Rankin...

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It was in 2017, when scrolling through my social media, that a particular article headline captured my eye.

The headline read: ‘The Bassoonist Who’s Also a Boxer’. An unusual picture was painted of someone with contrasting careers as a classical musician and a pugilist but intrigued, I read on…

The article highlighted why I love boxing, it’s not just the fighting, it’s the stories behind the fighters and no two stories are the same. From the time I came across this article to now, I have researched, connected with and been inspired by the woman in this article. Her name is Hannah Rankin.

Hailing from a secluded sheep farm in Luss, Hannah Rankin is a Scottish female boxer and a bassoonist.

READ MORE: Rankin targets glory after standout debut year as pro boxer

Hannah’s childhood was mainly spent on the farm alongside her parents, shearing sheep and rolling fleeces. She went to a school where there were only 27 pupils, Hannah being the only student in her year group.

At nine years old Hannah, along with her younger sister, were introduced to taekwondo but when Hannah developed a passion for music, music became her sole focus and taekwondo was left behind. Influenced by her grandad, who was a music teacher, and her mother who played the piano, cello and French horn, it came as no surprise that Hannah would try her hand in the music industry, first playing the piano, then the flute and finally venturing onto the bassoon.

It was through an elderly lady donating a bassoon to Hannah’s school that at 15 years old she would discover her talent as a bassoonist, going on to complete a master’s degree in bassoon at The Royal Academy of Music in 2014. Hannah is now a freelance musician who performs in care homes and at concerts as part of a quintet, whilst also teaching music in schools.

In her final year at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she obtained the first of her degrees, as a way of keeping fit Hannah decided to take up Muay Thai.

READ MORE: Ex Hermitage pupil aims to hit high notes in music and boxing careers

With her love for combat sports reignited, she opted to keep up her Muay Thai fitness at the GymBox in London, where she later moved to in order to complete her master’s degree.

It was at GymBox where Hannah would meet former manager Derek Williams who enticed her into boxing.

It was through Derek that she turned professional. Her only experience in boxing prior to this came from white collar boxing where she raised money for charity, training and fighting under the watchful eyes of Derek Williams and her now trainer Noel Callan.

Whilst Hannah was boxing, her mother was fighting cancer. Boxing helped Hannah channel her emotions and gave her the space she needed but also giving her best to make her mum proud.

Since turning professional in 2017, Hannah’s record stands at 6-3. She gained invaluable experience in her two creditable losses to world champions Claressa Shields and Alicia Napoleon. Last year she won the WBC silver middleweight title which propelled her towards the world title shots.

READ MORE: Rankin makes history with WBC silver title win

In a recent interview with me, Hannah discussed the experience of fighting in America against world champion, Claressa Shields.

“Going into the Shields fight there was natural dislike which built the fight and got people excited about it,” she said.

“It sold the fight well and the publicity was massive with the fight being on Matchroom USA and Sky Sports which was my first time fighting on TV.

“I was seeing posters of myself around the casinos, so every time I saw my face it was like ‘oh look, it’s me again!’.

“The fight went the distance and I was pleased with my performance. Claressa said she was going to knock me out, blah blah blah, that was never going to happen and I made sure of it.

“It was the best I’ve felt going into any of my fights. Noel and I nailed camp and the weight cut. I’ve taken a lot from the experience which will help me grow as a fighter; I’m looking forward to taking that experience into my upcoming fight.”

On June 15 Hannah will have the chance to become IBO super welterweight world champion at the Lagoon Centre in Paisley.

READ MORE: Hannah set for world title bid on home turf

“I finally get a chance to fight at my own weight for a world title, at home,” she said.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better.

“It’s amazing that in doing so I’m going to have the chance to make more history in becoming Scotland’s first female world champion. That’s what’s driving me and I’m very, very proud.”

Amongst the successes and learning curves of the last 12 months, Hannah has joined forces with Sam Kynoch, now her manager, a move which she elaborates on: “Having Sam as my manager has been a great move for me.

“It’s good to have a link to home and being part of his stable is great. We’re like a family and we all support one another.

“Sam is great to work with; he has his fighters’ best interests at heart and is incredibly on the ball.

“Noel and Sam get on well which is important and I think I have a great team.”

READ MORE: Rankin world title bid is great news for Scottish women's sport

The titles aren’t just coming in the ring but Hannah is also picking up accolades outside the ring too, recently winning ‘The Amazing Women Award for Professional Sport’ at the No.1 Magazine Women Awards in Glasgow.

Hannah says of this: “I really wasn’t expecting it and I was so proud to have my name announced. It was my first sporting award and I’m very proud of my team and all the hard work we have put in to get here.”