DAMAGE CONTROL: Hartmann ready for ring return
BOXING: After more than five years out of the boxing ring, former Grafton fighter Matt 'Damage' Hartmann is finally ready to step back through the ropes.
Hartmann had 18 fights on the amateur circuit before turning pro in 2012 when he beat Townsville battler Ryan Heck.
But that would be his final professional fight until now, with the boxer returning to the ring at the Yamba Big Bash Boxing night at Raymond Laurie Sports Centre next Saturday.
"It was just timing really,” Hartmann said. "There was just so much going on and there were dramas with getting fights.
"It was taking too much time out of what I actually needed to be doing.
"But now with my two youngsters starting to grow up, it is as good a time as any.”
Hartmann said he has been itching to return to the ring for about 18 months but it wasn't until a chance return to a local fight night that got the ball rolling.
"One of the guys at that night mentioned this Yamba boxing night and that got the ears pricked up,” he said.
"It is a chance to be back home fighting with some good local blokes in front of the local blokes.”
Hartmann has been working the bags day and night in preparation and said he will be 100per cent in time for his six-round main event bout with Central Coast gloveman Dillon Bagero.
The former Grafton fighter is also hoping to welcome a big host of supporters.
"That is why we fight,” he said. "You love to have blokes on the outside of the ring getting behind you.
"I appreciate any support I can get down there, all of the fighters do.”
Fight night organiser Nick Midgely said with enough support it is hoped the event will be held annually.
With 16 bouts scheduled for the night including an undercard jam packed full of local amateur boxing talent, Midgely said it was a show not to be missed.
"We expect it to be an awesome night of boxing,” Midgely said. "They are all really good, even matches. There are some serriously cracking bouts on this card.
"With the tickets already sold and the extras on the night, we would be expecting about 500-600 people at the event. A cracking crowd only makes the fight night better.”
With no professional boxing in Yamba in more than five years, Midgely said he hoped the show revived the scene in the Lower Clarence.
"We are trying to give amatuer fighters in the region a career path towards the proferssional ranks,” he said. "There has been nothing happening in the Northern Rivers on the pro side of the equation.
"A lot of amateur guys have a couple of fights and then pack it in because there is no pathway for them. We want to stop that.”
FIGHT NIGHT: Yamba Big Bash Boxing at Raymond Laurie Sports Centre on December 9. Doors open at 6.30pm. Tickets available at the centre.