ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Etianne Whitaker of Warren lost a unanimous 12-round decision to Orlando Rivera at the Days Inn Convention Center Thursday night.
"It was just another opportunity gone by the wayside," said Whitaker (28-10-2) following the fight for the vacated International Boxing Council's Continental Americas light-heavyweight championship.
The aggressive Rivera (11-1-2), from Tampa, forced the fight from the opening bell. Two judges scored the bout 117-113 for Rivera and a third judge voted 116-114.
Whitaker, who came in at 170 pounds, was unable to put punches together, though he landed the bigger blows and had Rivera (175 pounds) hurt on several occasions. Early in round two he staggered Rivera with an overhand right.
"I let him get away and even though he seemed to take a good shot, I just couldn't get to him to follow up," said Whitaker.
Through most of the fight Rivera had Whitaker off-balance, backing him up, smothering his attack and repeatedly tagging him with left hooks.
"He hustled a lot all over the ring," said Whitaker, who came on in the last two rounds to almost steal the fight. "I came at him and tagged him with a few good shots, but it was too late, with the problem being that I just wasn't putting shots together."
Whitaker's manager, Pat Nelson, added, "I knew Etianne had to clearly win and when the fight was over I knew he clearly lost."
Whitaker's next fight is July 1 against Dan Thornton (15-7) of Columbus on ESPN2.
After Thursday's bout, Whitaker said he would rather fight as a super-middleweight, than as a lightheavyweight.
Tonight in Columbus at the Promo West Pavilion, 20-year old Austintown heavyweight Chris Koval goes for his third straight pro win in a four-round bout against Santiago Verdejo from Cleveland.