In the name of 'glove': Hanshaw strapping on boxing mitts one last time

Apr. 20—WESTWOOD "The Rattlesnake" has one last strike left in him.

Travis Hanshaw will try to close out his professional boxing career by notching his 20th win on Saturday, May 11, at Camp Landing in Cannonsburg.

At age 32, Hanshaw (19-1-1) is ready to retire from fighting.

"My body ain't holding up like it used to," Hanshaw said. "I've been doing this since the '90s, so it's time."

Hanshaw will vie for the Universal Boxing Organization Continental Title in an eight-round bout. His opponent has not yet been determined, but BoxRec lists Jermaine King as his foe.

"It's going to be a good one," Hanshaw said. "I'm just excited I'm going to do my last one at home."

The event will begin at 2 p.m. with four hours' worth of amateur fights. According to organizer Mindy Hanshaw, Travis' mother, 40 young boxers have been training at Westwood Boys & Girls Club, and about 15 are fight-ready.

The amateurs slated to step into the ring on May 11 range in age from 8 to 32, she said.

Dustin Burchett with Kentucky Clear will entertain the crowd with live music from 6-7:15 p.m.

The bell will sound at 7:30 p.m. to signify the start of six professional bouts, featuring locals Bill "The Kentucky Brawler" Yates and Alexis Robinson, both of Ashland. Yates is originally from Grayson.

If weather permits, the event will take place in the parking lot behind Camp Landing Entertainment District. If it rains, it will be moved inside.

Family tradition

Hanshaw is a household name in area boxing circles, and May 11 will mark a new chapter for the family.

Travis will turn from fighter to coach.

Tom, his father, plans to pivot from coaching.

Thomas, aka T-Bob, will become an ABA Hall of Famer, receiving a jacket and a plaque. T-Bob, 39, is the oldest of Tom and Mindy Hanshaw's three children. Jennifer Hupp is the youngest.

"I'm proud of all of my kids," Tom Hanshaw, 59, said. "I don't act like it because I'm tough.

"They think I can't stand them sometimes," he said with a hearty laugh.

Tom Hanshaw said he's ready to hand the coaching reins over to Travis. In three weeks, when Travis wraps up his final fight, Dad plans to tell Son a few words he'd never previously uttered.

"I never told him I was proud of him, never did," said Hanshaw, eyes welling up. "But I told him, 'when you're finished, I'll tell ya.'"

Boxing is in the Hanshaws' blood.

Tom Hanshaw estimated he tallied 15-20 matches at a young age before his parents were even aware that he was boxing.

"I snuck out from my house, I was 8 years old," Tom said with a chuckle.

"There was a guy Terry Harris who started boxing here (at the Westwood club) and I got Charlie (Tom's brother) to start coming by saying, 'are you a coward, a sissy or what?'" Tom said, referring to a potential match between Charlie and Harris.

Tom Hanshaw began absorbing knowledge inside the ring. It eventually turned into wisdom he applies to his coaching tactics to this day.

He has never charged a dime for coaching and training aspiring boxers.

"This is all about the kids," Hanshaw said. "(Westwood Boys and Girls Club) is the only place anywhere that's free for the kids."

Hanshaw's old-school approach isn't always popular these days, he said, but his first priority is the children's safety. He won't throw any fighter into the fire, so to speak, if they aren't adequately prepared.

"I've tried to keep the kids on the right path," he said. "I wish a lot more people would get involved in these kids and keep leading them the right way."

Tom issued a challenge to Travis not long ago.

"Dad was telling me, you've been given so much and you haven't given back yet," Travis Hanshaw said. "He kinda threw a punch to my gut. I started thinking, I haven't."

He hopes to end the night on May 11 with a belt, and then turn his attention to molding youthful fighters into champions — possibly his own children.

He and his wife, Shelby, have three kids — Titus, 6, Tatum, 3, and Shaylynn, 1.

"I'm gonna kinda carry on what Dad has done," Travis said.

"Ain't nobody else around here who knows how to teach boxing like he does," Tom said.

'He's the GOAT'

Robinson, a former standout high school and college basketball player, is working diligently toward "fighting shape" for May 11, when she will take on Brooke Evans, from Edgewood.

"She's tough, she's 1-1," said Robinson, who is 2-0 in pro fights. "Looks like she's going to be a really tough opponent. I'm going to have to come in there respectable and give her my all."

Robinson has been fine-tuning her technique and putting in loads of cardiovascular training — "lots of running, lots of body-weight workouts, lots of punching," she said.

Yates hasn't fought in a "hot minute," he said, and is looking forward to getting inside the ropes for his first official match since October 2022.

Yates said being on the card for Travis Hanshaw's final fight is surreal.

"It's going to be special, man," Yates said on Thursday. "We've been on this road together for a while, so for him to call it quits and hang it up on his terms, that's pretty big. A lot of fighters don't get to choose when they retire. The sport usually retires them."

Robinson said it will be a "super cool" event.

"He's the GOAT (greatest of all time)," she said of Travis Hanshaw. "He's the one who set the foundation, he's the one who paved the way. I'm just blessed to be able to hop on board."

'I'm not that guy'

Boxers are notorious for having "last fight" after "last fight" because they don't know how to punctuate their punching days.

"I'm 100% done after this," Hanshaw reassured. "I'm not that guy, I'm not that guy (who will come back repeatedly). I've been doing this my whole life, and it's really taken a toll on me."

Hanshaw rip-roared through the amateur circuit, accumulating a 124-6 record, and then turned pro in 2011.

His lone loss — by unanimous decision — came against renowned Ukrainian boxer Taras Shelestyuk in 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Hanshaw bounced back, and by 2019, he was making a name for himself in the World Boxing Federation. He beat Nika Gvajava in Germany in November 2019. In December of that year, Hanshaw was named WBF Fighter of the Year.

As a WBF world champion, Hanshaw was racking up opportunities overseas, but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those chances. As a result, the WBF was forced to strip Hanshaw of his title.

The quick-handed, long-armed, 6-foot-3 fighter with favorable leverage is seeing the finish line ... and the start of a new chapter.

"I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm more knowledgeable than I was," Hanshaw said. "There's just so many people who have helped me throughout my career. I never got to thank everybody, and that's why I'm trying to help all these kids.

"There's a bunch of kids in there right now," he said, standing outside the Westwood Boys and Girls Club on a warm spring afternoon. "And I love it. I come here, train the kids, work them out and then train myself. I don't think I ever see my own kids anymore ... but I will soon."

Pre-sale general admission cost is $25. Cost is $10 for children between ages 6 and 10. Children 5 and under are free. VIP tickets are $40. Table cost is $300. Contact Mindy Hanshaw at (606) 571-3601 for more information.