Hannah Rankin Safeguards WBA Title from Alejandra Ayala; Wants Unification Next
WBA junior middleweight champion Hannah Rankin (12-5, 2KOs) made a successful first title defense in her home country of Scotland against tough Mexican fighter Alejandra Ayala (14-6, 8KOs).
Ayala has faced subpar competition for most of her career. However, she has fought two-time IBF champion Marie Eve Dicare and WBO middleweight champion Savannah Marshall. In the Marshall bout, she suffered her first career stoppage. However, she is 4-1 in the last five fights.
Rankin has been around the block for only having seventeen fights. She has shared the ring with some champions herself. She fell short of winning the WBA super middleweight title against Alicia Napoleon Espinosa in 2018. Her efforts in that fight earned a shot at the unified middleweight titles against Claressa Shields. In 2020, she took on Marshall for the vacant WBO middleweight title and was stopped, for the first time, in the seventh round.
The fourth time was a charm as she finally captured a world title, winning the vacant WBA title against Maria Lindberg in 2021.
A CLOSE FIGHT
Rankin established distance using the jab and landed the right hand on occasion. However, the phonebooth-fighting made it hard to score the fight. Ayala landed the right hand and started using the jab more, and the champion was finding success countering with the left hook and straight right hand.
As the fight continued, Rankin started landing the cleaner punches. She got up on her toes and boxed by landing the jab, followed by right and left hook counters. Ayala continued to press forward, landing good body shots and looking to answer back whenever the champion would connect.
CLOSING THE SHOW
In the closing rounds, Rankin turned it up a notch as that right hand was money, and those body shots started to suck the life out of Ayala. The champion, realizing her opponent was ready to go, started stalking her with a right hand and left hook combination.
Ayala, up against the ropes, was getting pummeled with a barrage of right hands before the referee jumped in to stop the fight in the tenth round.
After successfully defending the title, Rankin during the post-fight interview made it clear that she wants a unification next, which means a possible match-up with WBO champion Natasha Jonas.
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By: Garrisson Bland