ANACONDA — Boxing is making its return to the Smelter City.
The Washoe Theater will play host to a 10-fight boxing event on June 30, which will feature some of the best fighters in the Northwest. Boxing’s popularity had seen a drop, partially due to the rise of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but has began to pick back up in Montana.
“Butte and Anaconda have a rich history in boxing,” said trainer Chris Eamon. “We want to try to promote it again, get it out there.”
A total of 12 fighters from Butte and Anaconda are slated to be on the card, including Eric Hempstead, the top professional boxer in the area.
“I’m real excited,” said the heavyweight. “I’m going to be putting it on and I’m going to be fighting in it, so I’m very excited and I hope everyone comes out to support it.”
Hempstead, 24, has had a successful start to his professional career, racking up a 6-0 record. Including his last 12 fights as an amateur, he has knocked out 18 straight opponents.
“I’ve been working with Eric since he was 14,” Eamon said. “He had a good amateur record, two amateur state titles. … He’s as good as it gets around here.”
But Hempstead will have his hands full against his opponent, Anthony Sullivan, who comes in with a 3-1 professional record after going 62-9 as an amateur. He says it will be the toughest fight of his career.
“He was the former pro belt holder in Montana when Montana had a belt,” Hempstead explained. “He’s got the credentials. I’ve been training pretty hard.”
It’s not Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, but it’s the best fighting Montana has to offer.