On July 16, 2002, Etianne Whitaker, a busy 30-year-old journeyman from Warren took a 25-5-2 record into a matchup against undefeated Tony Hanshaw, a 24-year-old fighter who was born in Warren but had moved to Mansfield and eventually had settled in the Massillon-Canton area.
Many in the media, both local and national started to bill this 168-pound matchup between former sparring partners as the Battle of Warren.
Knowing a victory over Hanshaw would catapult himself to possible bigger bouts and paydays, Whitaker who was trained by Frank West utilized strong sparring partners in preparation for his bout against the 14-0 Hanshaw including future middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
Like Whitaker, Hanshaw, who was quickly climbing the pro rankings, knew he could not afford a loss and stepped up his training for this bout as well under trainer John Russell at the Rubber City Boxing Club in Akron.
On fight night, Whitaker tried to use his awkward style and threw his left jab effectively and let the crowd at the Canton Civic Center and those watching live on national television on ESPN know he was not going to be a pushover.
Hanshaw, however, began to dictate the pace in round two and in round three scored two knockdowns.
Whitaker would bounce back on his feet and would push Hanshaw in the later rounds but ultimately would lose a decision on the judge's scorecards by scores of 98-90, 97-91, and 96-92.
Whitaker would go on to fight until 2010 finishing his career with a 33-32-2 record, losing his last three bouts all by knockout.
Hanshaw would take a different career path pushing his record to 21-0-1 before losing to future Hall of Famer Roy Jones Jr. for the vacant IBC light heavyweight title in 2007. Hanshaw would last fight in 2013, suffering a TKO loss to Anthony Dirrell. Hanshaw would finish his career with an impressive 23-4-2 record.