RANKIN ROARS TO RETAIN WORLD TITLES: REPORT
Hannah Rankin looks ever more confident and assured as a world champion and a fighter. Headlining at the SSE Hydra in Glasgow, the Team Southpaw Jab member grew into what was surely her best performance yet, becoming only the second person ever to stop challenger Alejandra Ayala, and there could be a huge fight coming for her as her reputation grows with each win and polite, erudite appearance on television.
With blue weaved into her fight braids, Rankin sized up similarly to Ayala and both stood orthodox in stance. Hannah appeared to stand inside a little too long at first, once or twice getting caught, though not with anything worrying. The slow start began to get a little concerning, even though it was an absorbing if somewhat scrappy affair.
In almost invisible increments, though, the champion upped her game; stepping off just enough and making Ayala miss when returning fire and fine tuning the left, right down the middle to its target better. From the fifth, Alejandra began to slow, her punches losing their pop. With eight of her fourteen wins coming early, this was essentially her best weapon being taken from her and Rankin rallied visibly.
Swooping under and whipping left hooks across Ayala’s chin, Rankin clicked into life. In the eighth one caught the Mexican and she sagged while upright, that straight right then hurtled toward her as she retreated to the ropes under tremendous, sustained pressure. It was so close to s stoppage, but Ayala made the bell. What did she have left, and had Hannah punched herself out?
Not a lot and not at all, were the answers.
Although it went to the tenth and final round, Rankin was roaring and so confidence in her superiority she was punching clean through Ayala’s desperate guard, dropping her shots to the midriff to move it when it got too high or stubborn. Referee Michael Alexander warned the challenger to show him something but she wilted and her efforts were spent, Rankin battered her way through to force the stoppage forty five second left of the round.
In the immediate aftermath, Head Trainer Noel Callan told Fightone, “Hannah only started working from round five”, and his honesty is what helps his charge continue to get better. After a slow start, Hannah Rankin cemented herself as champion, pulling away in style to send a message to the other belt holders at super-welterweight. A high profile, all-British unification with WBO World Champion Natasha Jonas would really appeal, and Hannah has never shied from a challenge and acknowledged her ambition at the end,
“I’ve got two of the belts, I want the other three.”