Hartmann set to take on hard man
BOXING: His manager is ‘quietly confident’ but the man himself is more adamant who will get the points when former Grafton brawler Jason Hartmann steps into the ring against Johannes Mwetupunga on March 5.
Hartmann, who has lived in Queensland for the past four years, will take on the giant Victorian at Brisbane’s Mansfield Tavern for the vacant Australian Middleweight Title.
Not since Jeff Harding won the Australasian Light heavyweight Title in September of 1987 has a Grafton lad represented his town in such a main event on the boxing calendar.
“I’m 100 per cent confident,” Hartmann said of his chance of success.
“I believe in my ability.”
The 26-year-old originally challenged The Contender star Junior Talipeau in December but a late shift saw African-born Mwetupunga step into the shoes.
But he will be a challenge himself.
Mwetupunga arrived in Australia in 2006 with the Namibia Commonwealth Games boxing team.
Hartmann’s trainer Rob De Lange says a cautious approach must be taken by his charge towards his gangly rival.
“He’s been training hard for the past four or five weeks,” De Lange said of Hartmann.
“He’s been training harder for this one than ever before. He knows that these title shots are few and far between.”
A change of training philosophy may aid Hartmann, who has packed on muscle to compete with the sport’s heavy hitters.
“He’s been doing a lot of weight work for the past few months,” De Lange said.
“Once he lost his last fight he realised he had to do weight work as well as sparring.”
The bout has the chance to set Hartmann up for an overseas career, where much of the code’s money is on offer.
“We are just being a little bit quietly confident,” De Lange said.
“We know we are in for a big night. This is going to be do or die. We have got to win.
“The domestic scene is running out. Getting fights in Australia is getting few and far between.”
The night promises to be an interesting one with former rugby league hardman-turned heavyweight pugilist Solomon Haumono on the under card.