Wearing a South Pole T-shirt and casual blue jeans at one of the many press conferences promoting his showdown with the legendary Roy Jones Jr., Anthony ‘The Tyger’ Hanshaw’ entered the room as obscure as a blade of grass on a football field.
Although he has an amazing amateur record of 300 wins and just 22, and has won all but one of his 22 professional bouts while sporting an unblemished 21-0-1 report card in the ring, he is considered just an opponent for Jones in their Pay Per View clash in Biloxi, Mississippi, on July 14 at the Gulf Coast Coliseum.
How insignificant has Hanshaw been considered in this promotion? Well his trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. has received more calls or interviews than he has.
None of that has appeared to bother the fresh faced 29-year old who began his boxing career at the young age of five under the watchful eye of his late father Henry Russell in Warren, Ohio.
Even before he could walk or lace up a pair of boxing gloves, Hanshaw was a fixture in his father’s life while he trained champions such as Jeff Lampin and Lindsay Morgan.
However, Russell may have done his best work sculpting his son who was a spectacular amateur and United States Olympic hopeful until a tragedy dashed those hopes.
While working as a landscaper, Russell was doing some electrical work when he was accidentally electrocuted.
A 21-year old Hanshaw was on his way to the boxing gym to open the doors for his father when he heard the devastating news that ultimately would change his life forever.
“I got the call from his girlfriend Sandy [Carney] and she told me to come to the house right away,” he remembered.
Not yet sensing the urgency of the matter, when Hanshaw arrived he saw one of his father’s enemies in the living room and became more puzzled.
Sandy summoned him downstairs and then delivered the toughest blow he would ever endure, telling him that his father had died.
An uncontrollable Hanshaw rushed outside, pulled off his shirt and began screaming.
His older brother, Chris Hanshaw, consoled him and while he had lost his trainer, mentor and best friend, he continued doing the only thing he knew how to do, box.
“I never had any kind of job,” he explained. “All I ever wanted to do and all I ever knew to do was box.”
And so he went on as best he could and two weeks after burying his father, he took on middleweight champion Jermain Taylor in the 1999 Olympic Trials in Colorado Springs.
He lost a close decision, but by that time he was well respected by professional promoters, boxing managers and trainers and commanded a $25,000 signing bonus to ink a deal with manager Shelly Finkel.
Still searching for the bond that he had with his father, his professional career hit one bump in the road after another. He’s had three trainers and as many managers during his career but nonetheless has kept winning fights.
So far a new road paved by his co-manager Bryan Justus has put Hanshaw’s career back on the right track and has allowed for him to focus on boxing. It was Justus who is responsible for securing the services of trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.
“Tony The Tyger” may have finally secured the relationship that he’s been searching for in Mayweather Sr. who was responsible for the successful career of his undefeated pound for pound champion son Floyd Jr., whom Hanshaw lost to twice as an amateur.
“Floyd Sr. reminds me of my father. He’s old school, running with boots on and using two pound weights to increase hand speed,” Hanshaw stated.
Ranked No. 12 by the International Boxing Federation and with more than a dozen of televised fights behind him, he is ready for his world explosion on Pay Per View against Jones Jr.
“I always thought he [Jones Jr.] was one of the best out there pound for pound,” he said, choosing his words carefully.
Asked which Jones Jr. he expects to show up on July 14, the one who was knocked out by Antonio Tarver and Glenn Johnson or the one who punished James Toney in his prime, Hanshaw paused and then answered.
“I don’t know which one I’m going to see. I do know which Anthony Hanshaw he’s going to see.”
Promoter of the major event Murad Muhammad and chief sponsor IP Hotel is banking that Hanshaw brings his total arsenal with him when he faces Jones Jr. and are confident that he will do just that.
“He’s still a great fighter, but he’s had his time. It’s my time now,” he insisted.
Adding, “I’m going to make it a war!”
And then if it’s covered like the one America is involved in Iraq, he will finally get noticed but unlike that war it will be for all the right reasons.