Defending champions Bryant Acheson and Anthony Sullivan are both entered in the Montana Semi-Pro State Boxing Championships slated for Thursday and Friday at the Babcock Theatre.
It is the first time the state championships will be held in Billings since 2004, when Club Boxing held its Regional competition at the Babcock.
The event is being promoted by Magic City Boxing, which this year took over operations of the weekly Thursday Night Fights card from Club Boxing, located in Butte.
Acheson (35-5) claimed his third consecutive Club Boxing light heavyweight state title last year at the Butte Civic Center. Sullivan won his first state title with a split decision over Butte's Keith Larson, a 2005 state champion, at middleweight.
Both nights the fights start at 7:30 p.m. There are four men's weight classes. On Thursday, there will be eight semifinal bouts and two mixed martial arts matches for a total of 10 fights. On championship Friday, the main event will be the four state championship fights. The undercard includes two regular MCB match bouts and four MMA fights .
Besides the Billings judges, there will be a judge from Bozeman and Butte. Mel Armstrong, who is the regular MCB referee, will officiate.
The complete list of the 16 fighters, four per weight class, will be announced Thursday. As of now, 11 fighters have been selected to compete.
Acheson is on the bubble and could either bump up to heavyweight or defend his light heavyweight title, where Sullivan has moved up to this year.
Hollis Huggins, of Bad Boyz Boxing & Wrestling in Belgrade, will be bumping up from light heavyweight to fight heavyweight as a personal challenge. Huggins is a multiple-time qualifier for Club Boxing's state championships.
Promoters have also invited Butte's Tommy Putra to participate at heavyweight. Putra was the runner-up to former Montana Grizzly All-American Andy Petek in the championship fight of the documentary, "Butte: The Making of a Heavyweight Contender," in 2005.
Boxers will be competing for pride, the championship belt and prize money of $125 to win and $50 to lose for each fight.
Tickets are available at the door or in advance at the Alberta Bair. The cost is one-night general admission $20 or reserved $25. Two nights GA are $35 or reserved $45. Tables for six are available for $200 for one night or $350 for both. For tables, call promoter Shay Picard at 208-9441.
Billings' Adrian Rivera has qualified at lightweight, where he was the state runner-up last year. Bozeman's Cody Reese also will participate at lightweight, as he did last year. Bozeman's Matt Cardwell qualified at heavyweight in 2007 and this year at light heavyweight.
Lodge Grass's Woody Springfield was picked for the tourney at middleweight, but had to bow out due to work obligations. Joe Broken Rope (32-8), who was runner-up the past two years at light heavyweight, is not eligible as he has his first professional bout later this month.
Following is a list of fighters who have qualified for the tournament as of Monday:
Lightweight (150 pounds and below) - Adrian Rivera, Billings; Cody Reese, Bozeman; Tony Gavaghan, Billings.
Middleweight (151-170) - Aaron Liddell, Billings; Dustin Duran, Billings.
Light heavyweight (171-190) - Anthony Sullivan, Billings; Matt Cardwell, Bozeman.
Heavyweight (191-plus) - Hollis Huggins, Bozeman; Nate Ellestad, Billings; Kyle Burch, Billings.
On the bubble - Bryant Acheson, Billings, either light heavy or heavyweight.