Tony "The Tyger" Hanshaw knows time isn't on his side.
Saturday, the Warren-born boxer, who has a 23-2-1 record, plans to take care of business against Derek "The Black Lion" Edwards (26-2), when the two rumble at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The two are vying for the vacant Light Heavyweight WBC Intercontinental Title.
"A lot of the commentators in boxing, they think 34 is too old or whatever," Hanshaw said. "I have to prove it to everybody that Tony "The Tyger" is back. ... At this point in my career I win this title, I'm on my way back up there again."
This is the third fight after more than a four-year hiatus from the sport.
Hanshaw, who resides in Kernersville, N.C., beat a couple of lesser-know fighters in John Michael Terry (4-23-3) and William Gill (9-28) before Saturday's Edwards bout.
"I haven't been out of the gym. I just been training," Hanshaw said.
He said he had promotion and manager problems that led to him being out of the sport.
Hanshaw, who was the 2000 U.S. National champion at 156 pounds, beat Sechew Powell, Youngstown's Kelly Pavlik and Sergio Mora in the Olympic Trials, but lost to Jermain Taylor. Both Taylor and Pavlik were WBC and WBO middleweight champions.
Henry Russell, Hanshaw's father and trainer died in a work-related accident in 2000, leaving the Mansfield High School graduate in disarray.
"After my dad, I had 50 million trainers," Hanshaw said.
However, Hanshaw had a couple of title bouts, but ended up with a 0-2-1 record before taking a four-year leave from the sport. In 2007, he came to a draw with Jean-Paul Mendy (23-0) for the vacant IBC super middleweight title and lost by unanimous decision to Roy Jones Jr. (50-4) for the vacant IBC light heavyweight crown. In 2008, Andre Dirrell (14-0) TKOed Hanshaw.
Now there's some stability with manager Chris Cosper and his new team, giving the Warren native some new found confidence.
"We've been training hard," Hanshaw said. "The hardest part is over with. The hardest part is in the gym. The fight is going to be easy. He's got a 26-2 record, but I'm ready. I'm in phenomenal shape. I'm ready to go."
He's ready to beat Edwards.
"I'm going to give him a boxing lesson," Hanshaw said. "I'm a taller guy. He's almost like 5-9. I'm like 6-feet. I'm going to use my jab and use my combinations, keep him out on the end of my punches, just move and box."
He said after he wins the belt, he'll aim for 28-year-old Andre Ward (26-0), the WBC super middleweight and WBA Super World super middleweight champion.
"Probably two or three more fights, defend my belt and couple of times and then shoot for Ward," Hanshaw said.