Hannah Rankin’s first defence of her WBA and IBO world titles will now take place at Glasgow’s OVO Hydro Arena after demand for tickets meant a bigger venue needed to be found.
Scotland’s first ever women’s world champ was due to face Mexico’s Alejandra Ayala on April 23 at the nearby Braehead Arena but the pair will now go toe-to-toe at the Hyrdo on the new date of Friday May 13 to allow more fans to attend – with all the action, including an all-Scottish undercard, broadcast LIVE on Fightzone.
Rankin is one of the world’s premier women fighters. A two-time and now double world title holder, the 31-year-old is in career best form after beating Swedish veteran Maria Lindberg in November last year to claim the vacant super welterweight belts.
Ayala has visited the UK previously, suffering defeat to middleweight star Savannah Marshall in 2018. More tellingly though, the 33-year-old has also been the distance twice – sharing 18 rounds – with current IBF World Super Welterweight Champ, Marie Eve Dicaire from Canada.
Now 11-5 (2), Hannah cannot afford any slip ups against Ayala, with some huge unification bouts on the horizon. As well as IBF ruler Dicaire; the division is now red hot after fellow Brit Natahsa Jonas claimed the WBO portion of the world title with a two round KO of Uruguay’s Chris Namus last month.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to be fighting at the Hydro. It’s one of the main venues in Scotland and every Scottish fighter would love the chance to fight there. So, to be the main event there, I’m absolutely buzzing.
“I was commentating on the recent Josh Taylor fight at the Hydro and the atmosphere was insane. I know I’m biased but the Scottish crowd are the best fans in the world. When I was at the Hydro I was saying about how amazing it would be to fight there and lo and behold, it’s happened!
“Massive thanks to Dennis [Hobson] and the team for their work. I really want this night to be a showcase of Scottish talent because boxing in Scotland is absolutely flying at the moment.
“The date change means she has two weeks longer to prepare but that doesn’t matter to me. She can have as many weeks as she wants but she won’t be taking my belts away from me at home in front of my Scottish fans.”
Fight Academy’s Dennis Hobson said: “Hannah is a great fighter and I’m delighted that since she joined Fight Academy we’ve helped her to become a world champion again.
“She’s the perfect role model for any athlete and it just shows how popular she is, and how much the women’s fight game is thriving, that we’ve had to move her first defence to a bigger venue. Imagine how big the clash between her and Natasha [Jonas] would be! Everybody loves a Scotland versus England battle but Hannah has a job to do first on May 13.”
Asif Vali, Chief Operating Officer at Fightzone, stated: “Hannah became a two-time double world champion on Fightzone and we’re so pleased to be giving Fightzone viewers the chance to carry on following her journey.
“She’s always in exciting fights and her clash with Ayala – a come forward Mexican – won’t be anything other than a war. Women’s boxing is absolutely flying and to be showcasing one of the world’s best fighters on Fightzone again is fantastic.”