BELGRADE – One of the biggest boxing matches in Montana is taking place in Bozeman this weekend, and it’s shaping up to be the best card in the state.
“We really have the top talent in the state. I can’t tell you how many coaches and how many other promoters have contacted me and said, ‘Man, that’s a really good-looking card,’” said Montana Boxing owner Levi Johnson.
This Saturday, Montana Boxing is hosting its annual fundraiser fight night, Glory Bound at the Haynes Pavilion. The event features 10 fights from first-timers stepping into the ring to the upcoming pros.
“There’s no way to describe what it’s like for your first time fighting,” said Johnson. “Maybe like jumping out of a plane for your first time.”
One of those first-time fighters is Turner Venhuizen, who just recently graduated from Manhattan Christian High School. He started boxing as part of his end-of-the-year senior project, an assignment every senior graduating from Manhattan Christian must complete. Many students create projects like building a piece of furniture or a robot, but Venhuizen wanted to go outside of the box and learn how to fight.
“I had three goals for myself at the beginning on the year: obviously learn how to fight, compete in a match or two … and then possibly take my skills outside of the gym,” said Venhuizen.
And he’s achieving all three. He has learned the art of boxing the past nine months, will kick off the night as the first fight on Saturday, and will use his new knowledge to help him when he ships off to the Army’s basic training program in Georgia in July.
“Part of my project was to explore how this would tie into my future a lot,” Venhuizen said. “And the Army focuses a lot on modern combatives, and boxing is fantastic way to jump into modern combatives.”
As Venhuizen kicks off the card, Manny Lopez, KBZK and KXLF’s former Athlete of the Week, is the night’s main event, fighting Troy Sharette for the Montana Boxing Championship.
“The weight sucks, but it’s awesome because everyone is just waiting for you the whole night,” said Lopez. “And when you get out there you just hear everybody screaming and then that adrenaline kicks in.”
Lopez is currently 5-0 in semi-professional fights, and he’s looking to take home the Montana Boxing Belt. The event begins on Saturday, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and fights begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available the day of the event. For more information, visit the Glory Bound Facebook page.