World champion Hannah Rankin says she is leaving no stone unturned as she bids to be at her best for her upcoming title defence – and is working with scientific researchers to hit her peak condition.
The Scot is putting her super-welterweight titles on the line when she faces Alejandra Alaya at Glasgow’s Hydro on May 13 and is leaving nothing to chance ahead of the landmark fight.
Rankin told STV that she was working with scientists to help her find the incremental gains that can ensure she remains WBA and IBO champion after fight night.
“I know every fighter says, ‘you know, this is the best camp ever’, but it really has been the best camp ever,” she said. “I’m feeling in fantastic shape. Just under four weeks to go now.
“Everything’s going really well. And I’m absolutely flying in training.
“We’re doing a lot more work with Andrew Usher up at Abertay University. We’ve been working a lot on my performance aspect, so he’s doing some ground-breaking research up there talking about recovery and how you react and training and things.
So lots of data, lots of sensors, Moxy sensors attached to me in sparring earlier and heart rate data as well.
“I feel a bit like a lab rat, but actually it’s all paying off and turning me into an absolute monster. So I’m very happy.”
The 31-year-old feels that to remain at the top, it will be the fine details that will matter, and getting every gain that you can in preparation can make the difference in competition.
She said: “I think for all elite level athletes, you all test pretty similar in most things, but it’s those 1 per cents that make the real difference.
“So for me, I’m all about the science when it comes to training and it’s always interesting to try new things out as well and see how it goes. This is an exciting part of my training.
“Come May the 13th, there will be no stone left unturned. My nutrition is on point, my supplementation is on point, and all aspects of my training are absolutely on point.
“And, you know, I’m working with some of the top people in the field and I really appreciate the work they’re doing with me because it’s small margins, that 1% makes a real, real difference.”
Rankin has always been a trailblazer for the sport in Scotland but headlining a fight at the Hydro, after demand for tickets saw the night moved form a smaller venue, is another step up in statuire and profile.
“You know, obviously it’s great to make a little bit more history in Scotland,” she said.
“First female to headline at the Hydro. Also, the venue itself is incredible. I was only just doing the commentary there for the Josh Taylor fight and I said, ‘Oh, this place is amazing. The atmosphere is incredible. I wish I could box here one day’.
“Lo and behold, a couple of weeks later I find out I am. And I was just mind blown, you know? But I’ve had lots of really great response from people saying, ‘Oh, I’m bringing my daughter along to watch you’. And that’s something that I really want to be part of, you know, giving an opportunity to the next generation coming through, especially the girls in the sport.
“Because when I started out, there was no, there would never be the idea of like a world champion headlining at the Hydro. That’s crazy. You know, that never happened but now I’m changing that and hopefully girls can see this as a route for them to take in, there’s opportunities for them.”
If Rankin gets past Ayala, a title unification fight against Natasha Jonas has been suggested as the natural next step.
Jonas stepped up to light-welterweight and became WBO champion earlier this year and while Rankin says her only priority right now is a successful defence next month, she admits that a meeting with the Englishwoman would be a box office draw.
“Of course, I want to unify the division and the unification fight with Natasha Jonas would be amazing,” she said.
“Two British fighters, Scotland versus England, that’s a great fight. Who doesn’t want that?
“So that’s definitely something that I’m looking at down the line. But for me, my whole focus is on Alejandra Ayala on May 13th.”