Two knockdowns in the third round appeared to be the difference in the fight.
By BOB ROTH
CANTON -- Tony Hanshaw improved to 15-0 as a professional boxer with a win over Warren native Etianne Whitaker Tuesday at the Canton Civic Center.
The difference in the bout was when the 24-year-old Hanshaw knocked down the 30-year-old Whitaker twice in the third round.
The decision by judges Frank Garza (98-90), Gary Merritt (97-91) and Mike Ancona (96-92) was unanimous as Whitaker suffered his seventh loss in 34 fights.
Back and forth
Whitaker opened the fight with his left jab in Hanshaw's face and seemed to be dictating the pace.
But in round two, Hanshaw began to open up more with right-hand leads.
Then in lightning like fashion within the first minute of round three, Hanshaw decked Whitaker with a short left uppercut, Seconds later, an overhand right caught Whitaker and he went down again.
This time, there was no bounce as he got back to his feet and the rest of the round was a matter of him boxing for survival.
Out of no where
"The left surprised me," Whitaker said, "and it was a flash knockdown, but the right was a decent shot that took something out of me."
Hanshaw said he let an opportunity to end the fight early get away.
"I didn't want to rush things and I let him get away," Hanshaw said.
The knockdowns weighed heavy on Whitaker and gave Hanshaw an emotional edge and a ring confidence.
Pat Nelson, Whitaker's manager, said, "Etianne finished strong, but the knockdown round was a deficit difficult to overcome."
John Russell, Hanshaw's trainer, didn't mind that his fighter let Whitaker get away in round three.
"I was glad the bout went 10 rounds because I wanted to see what Tony could do," Russell said.
Rounds four and five had Whitaker fighting in flurries and even causing blood to flow from Hanshaw's nose.
The sixth and seventh rounds had Hanshaw dictating the pace with good finishes.
The best action
The eighth round had the best action as Hanshaw opened up with good shots. Whitaker responded with a solid right to the body and then a left hook to the head and took Hanshaw to the ropes in the last 30 seconds of the round.
Whitaker was hit with a low blow in round nine and given time to rest with both fighters finishing the round trading punches.
Whitaker finished well by throwing shots to the head and body, but Hanshaw countered with several good rights and used his jab well.
"His body shots didn't hurt me because of my conditioning," Hanshaw said. "Etianne is awkward and hard to fight. He came to fight tonight, but I was the better man. My jab was working perfect keeping him off balance, and from the third round on I felt that I was in control of the fight."
Whitaker, who felt that getting down to 168 pounds weakened him, said, "Tony won by moving well and using the momentum of the third round to his advantage.
"His left is his best punch and he may get better with time, but he wasn't that good tonight, yet he did enough to beat me. I couldn't land a big shot."