Kenny Lally is still optimistic he'll have an opportunity to fight for Canada at the senior world championship in Kazakhstan in October.
The 24-year-old Inner City Boxing Club fighter from Prince George is in a wait-and-see mode after losing his initial bout at the Elite Continental boxing championship in Santiago, Chile on Friday. Despite the loss, Lally said he was satisfied he was able to make the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba earn his win.
"I lost, but I'm happy," said Lally. "I fought the best in the world and he tried to stop me a few times but he couldn't. I held in there. I lost all three rounds, but I gave him a fight and he knew it."
Ramirez was declared the victor in a unanimous decision after each round ended 10-9 in his favour. The 19-year-old Cuban entered the fight having won his last 12 bouts, including an undefeated 5-0 run to gold in the 52 kg weight class at the 2012 London Olympics.
"There's a reason he's Olympic champion and I got to see it firsthand and I felt it firsthand to," said Lally.
With 17 fighters in the 56-kilogram category opponents were chosen through a random draw, matching country against country. Lally said he considered it an honour to go toe to toe with Ramirez.
"Now that my coaches see that I can take the best in the world and I'm not outgunned or I'm not out of my league it should show them that I'm ready for the worlds," said Lally.
The Canadian world championship team for Almaty, Kazakhstan (Oct. 4-13) will be selected at the end of the Elite Continental event. Lally said he believes between his performance against Ramirez, and at the Canadian training camp before they travelled to Chile, he did enough to put him on the team.
Lally fought at the 2011 senior world championship in the 52-kilogram category where he lost his first fight to a fighter from the Philippines.
"It looks pretty good right now," he said.
Lally is part of a seven-member Canadian team fighting in Santiago. Also involved in the tournament are: (49 kg) Emlien Boucher of Saint-Nicolas, Que; (60 kg) Alex Rinn of Calgary; (64 kg) Yves Ulysse Jr., of Montreal; (69 kg) Custio Clayton of Dartmough, N.S.; (75 kg) Brody Blair of Pictou, N.S.; and (91 kg) Samir El Mais of Windsor, Ont. Jonathan Savard of Sait-Nicolas, Que., was forced to decline the trip to Sanitago because of a back injury.
Daniel Trepanier, Kevin Howard and Benoit Gaudet are the Team Canada coaches.
Lally has had four other fights this year against international opponents. On May 24, he defeated Freddy Ortiz of Puerto Rico at the Ken Goff Memorial Classic tournament in Regina
On May 12, Lally moved up to 60 kg and earned a split -decision win over Hector Rondon of Tacoma, Wash., at the Night of the Champions fight card at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
In April, Lally lost an 11-8 quarterfinal decision to Stefan Ivanov of Bulgaria and finished fifth in the Belgrade (Serbia) Winner Tournament. At the Independence Cup in Sanitago, Dominican Republic in February, Lally lost by a count back to Sparkinson Almonte of the Dominican Republic.
With files from Ted Clarke