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.

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“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.

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