‘I EXPECT THE BEST VERSION OF MARIA LINDBERG’

The trainer of upcoming world title challenger Hannah Rankin says his fighter will face a fiercely determined and well-prepared opponent in Maria Lindberg, when the pair meet in a double world title fight on November 5, live on Fightzone.

The vacant IBO and WBA World Super Welterweight Titles will both be on the line when Rankin and Sweden’s Lindberg clash at Tottenham Hotspur FC’s Banqueting Hall, with both women facing a long road back if they lose.

Both Rankin and Lindberg are former world champions. Rankin, 10-5 (2), previously held the IBO belt, and has been in with two of the world’s best fighters, Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall – losing title bids up at middleweight.

Lindberg has been the IBF world champ at super welterweight, is far more experienced having lost just seven times in 29 outings, but is coming in off the back of a three round stoppage defeat to Marshall – albeit also up at middleweight and as a last-minute opponent.

Noel Callan (pictured with Hannah), who has trained Scotland’s Rankin from the very start of her pro career in 2017, says this is a last chance at the big time for Lindberg but believes the 44-year-old will be in top condition on fight night.

“Hannah has heart in bundles. You only have to look at who she’s fought. She’s fought two pound-for-pounders of her generation [Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields], and out of her weight class. She’s also got a chin, and now we’ve taught her to box, which is why she’ll be a problem for any fighter down at welter or super welterweight. You’d also be hard pressed to find anyone who puts as many hours in at the gym. That’s why she’s got to where she is.

“I’ve seen a lot in the British press about Maria losing to Savannah Marshall in three rounds, but she took that fight on five days notice, out of her weight class, and came over with no coach. For this fight she’s had a full camp, so I expect the best version of her.  She also knows that this is her last opportunity. If Hannah despatches her in style, like I believe she will, then there won’t be any phone calls again. She’ll definitely come to fight and when that happens, it plays into our hands.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Hannah wins and becomes a two-time world champion. I don’t care how she does it, it’s all about getting the job done. We have a plan but, ultimately, boxing is about who gets their hands raised, and we’re determined it will be Hannah’s.”

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