It’s no secret that the judges’ scorecards can present considerably more danger to a professional boxer than the gloves of their opponent, something that Hannah Rankin found out to her cost on a disappointing night for Scotland’s most successful female fighter.

Having lost her IBO and WBA titles in defeat to Terri Harper last September, Rankin was aiming to once again have the privilege of calling herself world champion when she went up against Slovenia’s Ema Kozin for the vacant WBC and WBO super-welterweight titles, with the Luss native aiming to become Scotland's first-ever unified world champion. 

Kozin had struggled to make weight on Friday, needing two visits to the scales to dip below the 11 stone weight limit. 

But from the very first bell at the Manchester Arena, it was clear that 27-year-old Kozin meant business, with little sign of the lethargy that can often plague fighters who have had to put considerable effort into making weight.

The opening rounds of the ten-round bout were even, but in Rankin’s desperation to impose herself on the fight, and on her opponent, she was leaving herself open to Kozin’s left hand.

As the fight progressed, it became apparent that Rankin was struggling to deal with facing a southpaw for the first time in a competitive outing, with Kozin landing several shots.

The halfway point of the fight came and went, with Kozin appearing to deal comfortably with Rankin’s attempts to attack but by the seventh round, the Scot, 33, was starting to read her opponent’s shots and looked to be taking the upper hand.

In the penultimate round, however, Kozin found a new lease of life and began moving better than she had at any point in the fight and by the tenth and final round, both women were going all-out for the win.

At the final bell, neither fighter dared celebrate, with the result clearly on a knife-edge and in the end, the Slovenian was awarded the win and both world titles in a split decision with one judge giving the result to Rankin 96-94, the second giving Kozin the win by the same score but most bafflingly, the third awarded Kozin the win 98-92, a scorecard that left most trying to workout where such a margin of victory came from.

It remains to be seen what’s next for Rankin, with a rematch against Kozin almost certain to be mooted.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Scots who had travelled south, however.

Earlier in the night, Nathaniel Collins retained his British and Commonwealth featherweight titles in a highly entertaining victory over home fighter, Zak Miller.

The Bearsden man moved his record onto 14-0 but he was made to work had for his win, with Miller refusing to be intimidated despite his underdog status.

The early stages of the fight were a sign of things to come with both men refusing to take a step backwards, which was in stark contrast to Collins’ previous outing, which saw him knock-out Raza Hamza within the first 30 seconds of the opening bell.

It was in round five, however, that Collins began finding his rhythm and, with an increasingly-erratic Miller only having once in his 13 previous fights ever having gone past six rounds, it seemed that Collins' superior experience and fitness was going to prevail.

But the Mancunian refused to buckle and despite Collins being a considerable step up in class in terms of opponent, Miller never once looked out of his depth.

As the closing rounds approached, Collins was displaying a better quality of boxing but was still unable to pull away on the scorecards, nor get anywhere close to pressuring for a stoppage.

By the penultimate round, both men were looking tired, and the pace dropped ever so slightly but the twelfth and final round was nothing short of brilliant, with the contest entirely even and Collins no longer dominating in the way he had at the halfway point.

At the final bell, the pair embraced warmly, with the final result closer than most expected. 

It was, however, Collins whose arm was lifted, handing Miller his first defeat and retaining his titles courtesy of two judges scoring the fight 115-113 in favour of the Scot and the third judge scoring the fight a 114-114 draw.

Next on the agenda for Collins could potentially be a third defence of his British title, or a first shot at the European featherweight title.