HANNAH Rankin says her world title-winning bout on Saturday was one of the best nights of her life after becoming Scotland’s first female boxing world champion.

The Luss fighter made Scottish sporting history at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre as she defeated American Sarah Curran on points to claim the IBO super welterweight belt.

Curran kept Rankin at bay in the early rounds despite the former Hermitage Academy pupil’s height and reach advantage - with her impressive movement proving elusive.

The 26-year-old from Illinois was taking part in her first fight outside the USA and the occasion certainly didn’t seem to faze her.

But, roared on by a raucous home crowd, Rankin began to find her range as her opponent tired as the fight went on.

Under her ring alias “the classical warrior”, professional bassoonist Rankin asserted her dominance in the later rounds, doing just enough to earn a unanimous 96-94 victory.

Afterwards, she said: “I’m so happy, it feels amazing.

“We knew about Sarah Curran’s movement beforehand but we knew she’d probably tire out in the later rounds, which she did.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Rankin battled past Sarah Curran (Photo: Allan Picken)Rankin battled past Sarah Curran (Photo: Allan Picken)

“I knew I had to finish strongly and make a statement.

“But all credit to her and her team, she really brought the fight.”

Rankin, 28, was the headline act on a packed night in Paisley as BBC Scotland screened the event live on television.

And she says the profile of women’s boxing is only going to improve after her history-making evening.

“It was a tough fight,” she added, “but no world title fight should be easy.

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“My experience definitely helped me and I was prepared to go 10 rounds.

“I always say that women put on a real good show and a proper war at a fast pace, so we put on a great show for women’s boxing.”

Promoter Sam Kynoch told the BBC: “It was a really great fight. First and foremost we need to say what a challenge from Sarah Curran. Hannah wanted a hard fight and she got it.

“Female boxing deserves recognition. This opens up a multitude of different options for her.

“Being a world champion, there are defences, there are other world titles, so there’s a whole plethora of things we can look at, both at home and abroad.”

Rankin’s coach Noel Callan added: “She worked really, really hard for the last 10 weeks.

“I thought the scores were right, I thought we did win it by two rounds but it was very, very close.

“We trained hard for this and she’s Scotland’s first female world champion!”

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