WESTWOOD Upon accepting an invitation to the Ashland area from Detroit, Demetrius Banks got acquainted with his sparring partner for the weekend.
At first glance, Travis Hanshaw doesn’t appear intimidating in the slightest. That’s one of his best qualities, Banks said.
“People think, this guy can’t fight,” said Banks, a 38-year-old journeyman fighter with 18 professional fights on his resume. “He has a very deceptive look. But it’s in his blood. Boxing is second nature for him. He’s just sharpening his craft and coming into his own.”
Banks sparred with Hanshaw at Westwood Boys & Girls Club on Thursday, Friday and Saturday before flying back to Michigan for Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Corky Salyer and Tom Hanshaw, Travis’ dad, have been teamed up as trainers, promoters and managers for the last year. They’re preparing the 27-year-old Travis for a fight he’s envisioned his entire life.
“I can see my whole dream,” Travis Hanshaw said.
Hanshaw will box Aaron Quattrocchi, of Follansbee, West Virginia, on Saturday, June 29, at the Boyd County Community Center for the World Boxing Federation Super Middleweight world title. A win in this fight will pave the way to a belt-defense bout in Germany, according to Hanshaw.
“My whole dream is to be a world champion,” Hanshaw said. “If I win, I’ve done everything I wanted to do. … Maybe I’ll finally get that road named after me.”
As young son Titus executed a few air jabs from his stroller, he and mom Shelby, Travis’ wife, watched Travis warm up for a sparring match with Banks on Saturday, May 11.
Sitting just outside the ropes, Salyer sat back in his chair with his hands on his head. He’d seen enough already over the course of three days.
“(Banks) has been real nice, real special,” Salyer said. “He’s used to being overseas. He’s fought in front of mega-, mega-thousands. He knows how to take care of himself. He’s a defensive expert, and can go rounds with world champions.
“Once I saw that, now, OK, let’s check that box,” Salyer continued. “Now we gotta take one more step against what I call a terminator. We gotta spar against somebody that wants to take his friggin’ head off.”
Hanshaw said going toe to toe with Banks, who trains at the renowned Kronk Gym, was a valuable experience.
“You play how you practice, and I’ve been practicing laying off people during sparring with people around here and I’ve been holding back in the fight,” Hanshaw said. “I didn’t realize it until I started watching the fights and I’m like, why didn’t I finish him there? … It’s been good. He takes everybody to the distance. That’s what we wanted. He’ll talk to me a little bit (while sparring) and say things like, ‘If I was just as fast as you was, I’d have caught you there. You gotta watch.’ And I’ll fix it.”
Quattrocchi will offer a different sort of challenge for the 6-foot-2 Hanshaw.
“He’s a speed person and might be a little bit taller than me,” Hanshaw said.
Quattrocchi, 29, most recently handed Joey Holt his first defeat in a duel for the West Virginia state super middleweight title. He’s 11-2-1 with notable wins over Mike Snider and Shawn Laughery. Hanshaw is 14-1-1.
Hanshaw outlasted Roy King for the WBF intercontinental light heavyweight title last July. While he’s fighting in a different weight class this summer, he may eventually pack on more pounds and pursue the world light heavyweight belt.
Banks said Hanshaw possesses the necessary tools to take down Quattrocchi. The main event will highlight a night of six or more professional fights in Cannonsburg.
“He’ll put on a great show for his hometown and capture his first world title,” Banks said. “Hopefully it’ll be the first of many.”
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