Eric Hempstead highlights Washoe Park fights

By Sean Eamon
for ButteSports.com

Expect some heavy hits at the Smelt City Scrap in Anaconda Saturday night.

Fighters out of Anaconda and Butte are set to take center stage at Anaconda’s Legion Stadium at 6:30 p.m.

The Fightforce MMA card is chock-full of fighters from Anaconda’s Goosetown Training Center along with a few young Butte scrappers looking to make a name for themselves.

Saturday night’s headline fight will see undefeated Anaconda semi-professional boxer Eric Hempstead take on Travis Martin of Great Falls.

The spotlight has been a long time coming for the Smelter City heavyweight. The last time he fought in Butte he was the headliner for the 2014 Evel Knievel Days card. He is now the premier boxing talent out of this area of the state.

Hempstead will take an 8-0 semi-pro record into the fight. He hasn’t fought in the Butte are for some time, but has been making a name for himself by taking down fighters on cards in Helena, Kalispell, Livingston and Townsend.

He started running a boxing gym in Butte last year. Hempstead co-operates Black Gloves Boxing with Butte’s Pink Gloves Boxing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the Mining City.

The Anaconda heavyweight started rising in the boxing ranks toward the end of the Club Boxing era in Montana. Club Boxing was run by Butte fight promoter Bob LeCoure, and since then Hempstead has matched up against several of the top Club Boxing heavyweights, scoring all knockouts in his eight fights.

“The fights Ive been having, all these guys were top-ranked Club Boxers back in the day,” Hempstead said. “Shorty Miller, he was a heavyweight state champ for Hollis Huggins. I’ve run through everybody. I haven’t had much of a problem with anybody. They might be a little older, but those are the guys that were running this 10 years ago.”

Mike “Shorty” Miller fought on a number of Club Boxing cards over the years. He battled against butte fighters Joe Jacques and the Garland Brothers, Tom and Doug. Hempstead dispensed of him in the first round at the Park County Fairgrounds in Livingston earlier this year.

The Anaconda giant took out Rusty “Nails” Taylor of Kalispell earlier this year. Taylor was fighting in Club Boxing more than 10 years ago.

Hempstead isn’t too familiar with Great Falls’ Martin, but knows that his heavyweight opponent boasts a 10-3 record in MMA fights.

“I dint know much about him at all,” Hempstead said. “He has some MMA experience. I guess he’s probably pretty good at that. I’m not overconfident, but I’m confident. I want to put on a show for my hometown, that’s for sure.”

He is particularly looking forward to showing his skills in front of his friends and family.

“A lot of people have only heard about me in the paper, but they’ve never actually gotten to see it,” Hempstead said. “I’m excited to show these people what I’m actually made of.”

When the Anaconda heavyweight takes the ring, look out for his right hand. He tends to end a lot of fights with right crosses or inside uppercuts. He is a solid all-around boxer with great technique.

Hempstead’s trainer is longtime Anaconda boxing coach Chris Eamon. He was a standout amateur in the 1970s and during Club Boxing’s reign in Montana he trained another undefeated heavyweight in Aaron Forsberg.

Forsberg stopped fighting after racking up more than 10 semi-professional wins, then turned his attention to his daughters, who are now standout prep athletes for Anaconda High School.

Another notable fight on the card will see Goostown’s Jered Lunceford take on Gera Gossen of Lethbridge at 185 pounds. Luceford works endlessly at mixed martial arts and has been making a name for himself at Butte Brawls.

The Anaconda man started his fighting career a little later than most. He’s now edging toward his middle 30s, but if you ever worked with him, you couldn’t tell.

“Luneford, he’s just an animal,” Hempstead said. “I don’t know where he gets (his energy) from. He’s getting so sharp nowadays. Since we started working together we’ve gotten pretty tight. He’s ten-fold a better boxer. When we spar, it’s back and forth. There isn’t much more I can do with him.”

Lunceford scored a TKO win in his first pro fight against Cody Williams last April at the Butte Brawl. Not much information is available on Gossen. He last fought for Fightforce MMA at Kalispell Kombat in May.

Goosetown’s Monty Klistoff will look to continue his winning ways against Lethbridge fighter Jeremy Estey at 175 pounds. Klistoff is coming off a knockout win against Brad Spencer at the Butte Brawl.

Hempstead noted that Klistoff has been working a lot on his standup fighting. Klistoff is a strong, stout fighter and wants to make sure his presence is strong when he’s standing.

“He’s been working on his left hook and his jab,” Hempstead said of Klistoff. “He’s gotten really good with it. I’m excited to see if he utilizes the things we’ve been working on.”

A title belt will be on the line when Anaconda heavyweight Chris LaTray faces R.J. Loughering of Poplar. Loughering will be looking to keep his heavyweight Warrior Force against LaTray.

In LaTray’s last fight he took a first-round win at the Butte Brawl against Zach Cross with a ground-and-pound. The Anaconda brawler has a reputation for being one of the hardest working fighters around, so he’ll be looking to prove himself in front of a hometown croud.

Marcus Lussy of Anaconda will return to the ring with a bout at 185 pounds with Bozeman’s Joshua Cole. Lusssy had a good showing at the last Butte Brawl, but slipped into a hold and was unable to recover.

Lussy takes an impressive wrestling background into the octagon. He was a state champion wrestler for the Copperheads during his high school days. He also had one of the strongest followings of fans at the last Butte Brawl.

Anaconda kickboxer David Stropes is set to take on Cody Jerome of Canada at 155 pounds. Stropes has undeniable kicking ability and a boxing background, so he’ll be using those skills against his opponent.

Butte will be represented by Brandon Brisbo out of Streets of Butte. He’ll take on Jacob Madrid of Idaho at 135 pounds.

Eamon called Brisbo “Pretty good, pretty decent like all their guys are.”

Brisbo has a winning record and will bring solid all-around skills into his fight.

Anaconda’s Thomas Allison will take on Great Falls fighter Ryan Ware at 145 pounds. The two had an injury and illness issue with their scheduled opponents, but agreed to bout Friday night.

Anaconda wrestler Mason Mavrinac is slated to face Idaho fighter James Hyder. Mavrinac is from a strong wrestling family and has a tall, awkward body for his opponents to handle.

Anaconda heavyweight Daniel Holdaway is scheduled to fight Butte’s Jason Van Tatenhove out of the Lion Pit. That should be an interesting match between two prospective talents.

Anaconda kickboxer Sage Spehar will see the ring against Missoula’s Johnny Heisdorg in one of Saturday’s early bouts.

The night is slated to begin with Anaconda boxer Kelan Rivers facing Andrew Huckabee of Streets of Butte. The matchup should be a good opener for the card with two hungry, young fighters looking to prove themselves.

The doors to Legion Stadium will open at 5 p.m.

Smelter City Scrap
6:30 p.m.
Legion Stadium in Washoe Park

170 Boxing — Kelan Rivers, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Andrew Huckabee, Butte (Streets of Butte).

130 Kickboxing — Sage Spehar, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Johnny Heisdorf, Missoula (Northstar).

Heavyweight Boxing — Daniel Holdaway, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Jason Van Tatenhove, Butte (Lion’s Pit).

145 MMA — Thomas Allison, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Ryan Ware, Great Falls (Freestyle).

155 MMA — Mason Mavinac, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. James Hyder, Sandpoint, Idaho (SMMA).

155 MMA — Brandon Brisbo, Butte (Streets of Butte), vs. Lucas Neufield, Lethbridge (PFA).

155 Kickboxing — David Stropes, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Cody Jerome, Lethbridge (PFA).

185 MMA — Marcus Lussy, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Joshua Cole, Bozeman (Freestyle).

Heavyweight MMA — Chris LaTray, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. R.J. Loughering, Poplar (Scrap Pack).

175 MMA — Monty Klistoff, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Jeremy Estey, Lethbridge (PFA).

185 MMA — Jered Lunceford, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Gera Gossen, Lethbridge (Freestyle).

Heavyweight Boxing — Eric Hempstead, Anaconda (Goosetown), vs. Travis Martin, Great Falls (Freestyle).

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