of "The Boxing Amusement Park"


By DENNIS TAYLOR of "The Boxing Amusement Park"

 Travis Hartman, of "The Boxing Amusement Park," may well be the only boxing writer in America who is simultaneously an active professional boxer -- a background that gives him a unique ability to write about the sport from the perspective of an athlete who has literally been there, done that.

 Hartman, 25, was a world-class amateur boxer who compiled a record of 156 wins, 13 losses during a career that, in various age divisions, included bouts against reigning IBF and IBO world flyweight champion Nonito Donaire (20-1), featherweight prospect Rashiem Jefferson (15-1), and Anthony Dirrell (13-0), a rising star in the super middleweight division. He was a three-time national junior champion who was ranked No. 1 in the nation two years in a row, and qualified for nationals every year of his amateur career, never finishing worse than third.

His Olympic dream died when he lost in the quarterfinals of the Western Trials in 2004, and he turned pro in March of that same year.

Hartman, a welterweight, won his first five bouts -- four by knockout -- then stepped into the ring against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who already was 17-0 at the time.

"I kind of feel a little disappointed that I wasn't smart enough to see a lot of things in the early days of my professional career. I trusted a lot of people," he says. "I thought -- and I still believe to this day -- that I was talented enough to go in there (with Chavez), but maybe I wasn't as ready as I should have been in a lot of aspects."

 Hartman, in fact, has been anything but protected during his four-year career. His 9-10 record also includes losses to Bobby Aucoin (14-0-1 at the time), Jorge Paez Jr. (8-0), Shamone Alvarez (16-0), Damian Frias (11-1), Derrick Samuels (10-3-1) and Ray Sanchez (19-1). In fact, the first eight losses of his career came at the hand of opponents whose combined win-loss record was 110-9. He also fought Frank Shabani (12-0), a bout that was ruled a no-contest.

"I think maybe my boxing style didn't really fit the pro game as well as it did the amateur style at first," Hartman says. "Amateur boxing, compared with pro boxing, is really almost night and day. You really have to adjust, and I'd probably have to say that my style might not have been ideally suited to the professional game."

 Hartman's fights have been seen on ESPN2, Fox Sports, HBO PayPerView, Telefutura, TV Azteca, and ARD, a major network in Germany. His audiences have included Michael Jordan, Queen Latifa, Julius Irving, Brian McKnight, Nick Lachey, Patrick Ewing, and several of the Kansas City Chiefs, including Tony Gonzalez, Priest Holmes, Dante Hall and Larry Johnson.

His acquaintances in the boxing world have included Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, Arturo Gatti, Micky Ward, Antonio Tarver, Oscar De La Hoya, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Arthur Abraham, "Iceman" John Scully, and sportscasters Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas, among many others.

 Hartman currently is a junior at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., where he is majoring in journalism and convergent media.

"Actually, I was a physical therapy major for three years, but I came to a crossroads in my life and realized that I'm not really much of an office guy. I don't want a 9-to-5 job. I also love sports, especially boxing, so I got into working for my university newspaper, and the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press. I love it -- every aspect of it -- and I enjoy talking to athletes about their sport, and what they go through, because I've gone through so many of those same things during my own career."

Hartman also trains amateur boxers at his own gym in Missouri.

 CLICK HERE to contact Travis Hartman

CLICK HERE to see Travis Hartman's complete record from boxrec.com

Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley and Travis Hartman in Atlantic City