Hannah Rankin has revealed that the bad blood between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer is for real.
The Scottish boxer will be BoxNation’s studio guest when the unbeaten pair clash for the undisputed women’s World Middleweight Title in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
Rankin, 28, is more than qualified to voice her opinion. She has trained with Hammer in Germany for over a year and five months ago went the 10 round distance with Shields in a brave World Title tilt.
“It is a fantastic match-up - the best fight in women’s boxing. It’s big, very big and I cannot wait for it,” she told BoxNation.
“What is important with this fight between Christina and Claressa is that they obviously don’t like each other. That has been made quite clear. They are different personalities and that has come across.
“It is important to have female rivalries because in the guys' game it is natural to have competitive rivalries that get built up early in careers.
“It helps sells a fight and people get to see different characters coming out. In the women’s game we don’t have enough characters who come across and say what they want.”
IBF, WBC and WBO Champion Shields likes to threaten rivals with trash talk and has the knack of getting under her opponents skin before the first bell.
She tried the mind games with Rankin before their clash in Kansas and has riled Germany’s WBO title holder Hammer during a long build-up.
Michigan’s Shields isn’t scared of predicting KO wins, but just two of her eight wins have come inside the distance.
Rankin added: “When Claressa fought me and others she has said she will knock us out, but she hasn’t knocked out anybody.
“I don’t think she is a one punch knockout artist, when she has stopped people it has been because a vast amount of punches were thrown. She is aggressive and if you let Shields set her feet, she lets loads of shots go,” explained Rankin.
“In the girl’s game we only have two minute rounds. You can’t set up things as much as the guys. They have an extra minute to start working their way round and find the knockouts.”
Bookies have 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist Shields as a warm favourite to beat Hammer, who has won all 24 fights and been a World Champion since October 2010.
Rankin does find it hard to tip a winner with confidence, but says: “If Christina sticks to the game plan and continuously moves I think she wins the fight, but I’m not sure she can keep it up for 10 rounds.
“If Claressa manages to get inside and working then that will be trouble for Christina.
“Christina has an upright European style, but technically she is very good. She has a ramrod jab and that will be important.
“Shields is a very determined fighter and is always going to come forward to try and get the win. She is quite aggressive.
“She is going to have to move a lot and cover ground to get to Hammer, because she will have the reach on Shields.
“If Christina implements her game plan she would be my pick, but Claressa is a fantastic boxer who is aggressive and comes forward so the amount of pressure she puts on makes it a real 50-50 fight.”
Claressa Shields v Christina Hammer is live and exclusive on BoxNation this Saturday night from 1.30am.