Hannah Rankin was still a year away from engaging in her first competitive fight when Savannah Marshall headed to her second consecutive Olympics in Rio.
Rankin’s dive straight into the sport stands in stark contrast to the path taken by Marshall, who won the world amateur title in 2012 with victory over the now-dominant American Claressa Shields and then went on to establish herself as a member of the GB Boxing squad.
However, the 30-year-old Scot believes her own experience will give her the edge when the pair meet in their delayed clash for the vacant WBO middleweight title on Saturday night.
Rankin said: “I feel I’ve got a real hunger for the sport because I am desperate to prove what I can achieve.
“I’ve had to do everything the hard way, I haven’t had any easy fights and I’ve worked really hard to go as far as possible.
“Every time I get into the ring I feel I’ve changed as a fighter, I’ve learned from all the experiences I’ve had and I wouldn’t change the way I’ve had my own career for anything.”
Rankin, an accomplished bassoonist who completed a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London, had not even considered the sport when Marshall was making waves as part of the first generation of female Olympic boxers at London 2012.
While Marshall was surprisingly dumped out in her opening bout, the likes of Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor skated to gold medals which paved the way for women’s boxing to earn its place on today’s big pay-per-view shows.
Rankin, however, started training for the sport simply to get fit and engaged in some white-collar charity bouts before making her paid debut in Southend in 2017.
She lost a world title challenge to Shields on points in 2018 in only her sixth professional fight, but picked up the IBO crown with a win over Sarah French in Paisley the following year.
Rankin added: “I came into boxing later on and the Olympics was never a route that was open to me or that I considered for myself.
“When I turned professional it was just a question of how far I could go in the sport. I’d never really thought about the Olympic side of things so I don’t really feel like I missed out on anything.”