Adam Thorn speaks to Hannah Rankin’s head coach Noel Callan from their sparring camp in America ahead of her huge defence against Terri Harper on September 24th

It has finally been announced that Hannah Rankin, the WBA and IBO World Super Welterweight champion will fight former world super featherweight champion Terri Harper on September 24th in Nottingham. The Team Southpaw Jab fighter, and head coach Noel Callan, have been verbally sparring with Harper and her coach Stefy Bull on Twitter for some weeks and it is an intriguing clash between women who’ve long campaigned at vastly different weights.

Rankin began her career at her current weight, but has gone as high as super middleweight at world level before establishing herself at 154lbs. Harper seemed destined for a well managed DAZN and Matchroom stable career campaigning at around two stone beneath that until a conclusive stoppage loss to Alicia Baumgardner in November 2021 cost the Yorkshire champion her WBC and IBO World Super Featherweight Titles.

Fellow Brit, and potential Rankin opponent, Natasha Jonas exploded onto the Super Welterweight scene winning the WBO Title, but Harper’s similar ambition has been met by Team Rankin with cold, hard confidence and a raised eyebrow. Noel Callan spoke to Southpaw Jab about both fights, promising Harper, “will revisit the mental scars from the Baumgardner knockout”.

“The reality of the situation is the overall deal from Matchroom and DAZN was better than Sky’s [for fighting Jonas] and DAZN being shown in USA means that Hannah’s USA fan base and support gets a look in…

“I’ve seen people say Hannah ducked Jonas. Ha! Look at her resume. Never ducked anyone.”

A two time world champion with no amateur background, Rankin’s success is often overlooked, if not derided, because of a prejudicial preference for professionals with one foot in their past, unpaid experience.

“We got trolled on social media for hours after the fight was announced. People can’t work out how we are here from where we came from and still on top of the world.”

“We’ve fought all over the world, fought two pound for pounds of Han’s generation, potentially… Is this fight the biggest? No but we take no one lightly. Terri is a former world champion and that deserves respect.”

Respect is a word which has been tested online, not least by the teams themselves as gentle taunting turned to threats. All part of the game? I put that to Noel,

“Myself and Stefy Bull have no real issues with each other. He backs Terri like I back Hannah. I think he’s made a mistake, the same kind of when they kept Harper a to lower weight and she got knocked out by Baumgardner. This will be no different at 154lbs with Hannah.”

Currently in the USA training with former opponent and now good friend Claressa Shields, Hannah Rankin and Noel return ahead of Shields’ huge unification with Savannah Marshall. A fight Callan believes Shields takes, “her boxing IQ will see her through.”. This IQ will go to good use against Harper, Noel assures me.

Hannah Rankin versus Terri Harper will form part of a triple header on DAZN, with Nottingham local Leigh Wood looking to retain his WBA World Featherweight Title against heavy handed Josh Warrington conqueror, Mauricio Lara. 


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