BUTTE, Mont. -- With the Class AA tournament set to come to Butte next weekend, basketball is on the mind of the Mining City. But it's a different sport of choice for a pair of amateur fighters looking to make their impression nationwide.
At first glance, a small town like Butte, America may not seem like the ideal place to build a boxing career.
Ethan Wroblewski begs to differ.
The homegrown amateur, who spars just about every day in his garage's makeshift gym, proved that the Mining City can pack a punch a year ago at the Golden Gloves regional in Salt Lake City.
"I fought the guy that was from Salt Lake City--he was the defending champion, and I fought him in his backyard to a split decision," Wroblewski said. "I felt like I belong there, so that was the coolest thing because I never went to regionals before... it was my debut. I think some people knew that I was legit."
Like any amateur, Wroblewski dreams of going pro, hoping to one day step into the ring of the World Olympic stage. He'll take his next step at the state Golden Gloves tournament in just over a week.
And this time, he's not alone.
"I'm competing for the Golden Gloves this year," said Eli Wroblewski, Ethan's younger brother. "I didn't get to compete last year with a hand injury. I'm recovered now, I feel good, ready to go."
"Whoever's in my weight division is going to get a taste of me," Eli continued. "I'm ready."
But it's not enough for the Wroblewski brothers to enjoy boxing themselves--not when they have the talent and resources to elevate the sport at the state and national level.
The first order of business is to build up their little gym into a place when the next generation of Butte-grown boxers can hone their craft.
And their coach Steve Chai, who helped train current UFC great Sugar Sean O'Malley of Helena, truly believes that if anyone can put Butte, America on the boxing map, it's these two.
"You find a rare gem every now and again," Chai said. "In this case, we found two."
"They're role models, especially for Montanans," Chaid continued. "They spend all their time training, and I think they're going to go very far."
The Wroblewskis will head up to the state Golden Gloves on March 11, and you can help them out financially by donating on their GoFundMe page.
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