Lally starts punching at new weight
With no national boxing championships, most of Canada’s top amateur boxers haven’t been as active this season.
Prince George pugilist Kenny Lally is no exception.
Although Lally started last year as Boxing Canada’s elite A team 52 kg representative, he wasn’t as busy during the second half of 2012. After falling short of qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, he took advantage of a lighter schedule with some downtime in August.
Lally, 23, got back into training in the fall. But with the bi-annual World Championships on an off year, and the world’s top boxers still winding down from London, he had a relatively low key start to the 2012-13 campaign. With no senior nationals, Boxing BC provincials were also called off.
Aside from stepping in the ring at an amateur card in Cranbrook in October, Lally’s only carded bout over the past six months was the main event of the Tacoma Golden Gloves last month. He defeated Tacoma Boxing Club member Jerrell Barbour at the competition on Jan. 19.
That’s all behind Lally. Into a new year, in a higher weight class, Lally leaves this week for his first competition with the Boxing Canada elite team since May 2012. Nine months after his 2012 Olympic aspirations ended at a qualifier in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lally will reunite with his teammates in Puerto Rico.
Lally leaves Prince George on Sunday. After a training camp in Puerto Rico, he’ll travel to the Dominican Republic to compete in the Independence Cup from Feb. 18 to 22.
The Independence Cup represents Lally’s first opportunity with the Boxing Canada elite team to box at 56 kilograms. He decided to move up a weight class last summer.
“I’m just excited more than anything,” Lally says of rejoining the national squad.
For Lally, moving up a division presents challenges. On top of facing new opposition from other countries, he could face competition within Boxing Canada. Justin Hocko of Windsor entered 2013 as Canada’s 56 kg A team member, and is planning to compete in the Dominican Republic.
Lally and Hocko will be placed on different ends of the draw at the Independence Cup. The competition will include boxers from the host country, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico and throughout the Americas.
Puerto Rico has served as training grounds for the Canadian national team. Lally also travelled to Puerto Rico for a two-week training camp last April.
“This is only a six-day camp so it’s probably just going to be sparring with the Puerto Rican team,” Lally says.
Lally expects to see Puerto Rican Jeyvier Cintron during his visit. Cintron defeated Lally in last May’s qualifier and went on to represent Puerto Rico in London, where he fell one win short of a medal.
“They’re really, really nice to us and good people, all of their athletes,” Lally says. “Puerto Rico and Canada, we get along really well.”
Having fallen short of London, the next few years may represent Lally’s best opportunity to live his dream of becoming an Olympian. His ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
While there’s still much to be decided for Lally, he’s looking into returning to the AIBA (International Boxing Association) World Boxing Championships. The 2013 event is slated to take place this October in Astana, Kazakhstan.
But what Lally is particularly excited about this year is a major Prince George event hosted by his organization, the Inner City Boxing Club. Night of the Champions is scheduled for May 11 at the Northern Sport Centre.
“That’s the biggest thing in front of us right now.”