When Kenny Lally first steps in the ring in England against Oscar Webb this week, he’ll appear a little heavier than normal to his coach Bob Pegues.
Having boxed in the 112-pound class at nationals in Windsor, Ont. last month, the 18-year-old Inner City boxer is pushing himself to the 119 lb. class for two matches against Oscar Webb. The matches are part of the second leg of a boxing exchange between England and Canada. In October, an squad from England visited Vancouver for fights while this month it’s the Canada team returning the favour by sending their own team overseas. Lally is one of 10 boxers on the national squad, and the only pugilist from B.C. visiting England.
Lally still has vivid memories of losing to Webb in both matches last October, so he won’t be treating his visit to England as another friendly encounter.
“It sucks, but I’ll get him when I go to England,” he said. “I want this revenge. I don’t want this guy to beat me.”
Lally said Webb defeated him hands down in their first fight during the English team’s visit to Canada. In the rematch, Lally lost in a countback in a close match. The score of that match was 21-21 at one point.
“He’s a really good boxer,” Lally said. “He knew what he was doing. He was no chump.”
Pegues is one of two national coaches joining the contingent in England. Pegues said moving Lally up a weight class was necessary because nobody could enter the competition in his division.
“He had a pretty good chance,” he said. “What disqualified him was winning at 112 (pounds) instead of 119, and the Brits having nobody in his league they felt were up to the task, so he got knocked off.
“I said, what do you mean? He’s ready to go at 119. He can go 119 and they said (they) thought he had to go (at) 112 so then they (accepted him and now) there’s two (boxers) at 119.”
Pegues said he found out Lally had been selected for this end of the exchange about a week after the nationals wrapped up on Jan. 27.
“I don’t think I told him he wasn’t ever (going to go),” Pegues said. “I always let him believe he was so then (he’d) train. You (have) to be careful how you handle that stuff.”
Pegues noted that he knew he’d been making the trip as coach during the English team’s visit to Canada. But he nearly got disqualified because he’s only a Level 3 coach. Pegues has plans to attend the University of Victoria to move up to a Level 4, and then eventually get his Level 5 coaching certification.
Lally and Webb’s first match is slated for Friday in Hampshire, with the second bout scheduled for Monday in London. Pegues and Lally, who return home next week, are also touring London this weekend. Pegues said they’re carrying along Canadian flags, Prince George pins and Inner City boxing shirts to promote the club, city and country.
Lally, no stranger to spotlight at this point of his young life, has his eyes set on competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“That’s what Bob (and I) are focusing on now,” Lally said.” We already got the nationals out of the way. Now it’s time to get a whole bunch of international events in to set me up now for the 2012 Olympics.”
Lally’s efforts haven’t just earned him recognition among clubs and boxing governing bodies. The provincial government recognized Lally during the 2008 Premier’s Athletic Awards on Feb. 11. Lally was one of 99 B.C. athletes to accept the award from Premier Gordon Campbell.
“There’s so many great athletes too,” he said. “It was awesome to be recognized in that group.”