Fear factor kicks in for 'The Hitman'
THERE was a time when every fighter wanted to step into the ring with Jason 'Hitman' Hartmann.
How times have changed, with the former Clarence Valley boxer's skills, especially his famed body blows, earning him a reputation other boxers now fear.
It is a reputation which has increased after Hartmann, 25, successfully defended his Queensland Middleweight Title against former world champion kick boxer Bruce 'Preacher' Macfie at the Mansfield Tavern, Brisbane, on Friday night.
In front of a sell-out crowd, and in a bout aired on Fox Sports, Hartmann dominated every one of the eight rounds nearly knocking out his opponent before winning the bout on points.
It was a performance which left even Hartmann's trainer, Rob De Lange, gob smacked.
“I was just taken aback with the level of maturity Jason showed ... he comfortably outboxed Macfie,” De Lange said.
“We had a game plan and had stuck to it for the entire eight rounds.
“Halfway through he started to enjoy himself.”
Macfie, a former T he Contender Asia contestant, entered the bout with a big name, but the Hartmann camp were more focused on the former kick boxer's boxing abilities.
“A lot was made of Macfie sparring with Danny Green and this could have been a danger fight,” De Lange said.
“We knew (Macfie's) footwork wasn't great and everybody knows good footwork wins fights.
“So we just had to worry about his hands so I told Jason to attack the body early and make him too scared to throw his punches.”
In a stunning opening salvo, Hartmann blitzed his opponent in the first two rounds before almost finishing the fight in both the third and fourth rounds.
With fears Hartmann may not last the distance, he surprised everybody, including himself, to finish the stronger of the two fighters and secure the victory in front of the boisterous crowd.
“The promoter came up to me and said Jason's fan base has just erupted and keeps growing in Brisbane,” De Lange said.
“His name is starting to get bigger than the big names.”
De Lange said one of the characteristics of Hartmann which appealed to fight fans was his 'working class' background.
“He's so proud of where he comes from ... he identifies with Grafton,” he said.
“He was going to have '2460' printed on his trunks, but instead, he had a name of one of his mates on there.
“He has so many fans from Grafton who travel for four hours just to watch him and without them he wouldn't be where he is today.”
However, Hartmann's new-found popularity has begun to subdue potential opponents before he has even had the chance to step into the ring.
“Being on Fox and winning like he did has scared off a lot of opponents,” De Lange said.
“Already I've had one fighter call me up and cancel because he thinks Jason is too tough.”
De Lange said Hartmann's reward for his dominating boxing display was a two-day break from training, with plans on the Hitman's next bout in the pipeline.
“It's going slowly, slowly ... there is plenty of time,” he said.
“I'm pretty excited about this kid.”