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Lally regains national boxing crown

Kenny Lally waited two years for this. He's a national boxing champion again, a step he needed to take to keep the 2012 Summer Olympics within his reach.

Kenny Lally waited two years for this.

He's a national boxing champion again, a step he needed to take to keep the 2012 Summer Olympics within his reach.

Saturday at the senior national championships in Quebec City, Lally scored a convincing 9-2 win over Godfrey Nyroya of Ontario in the flyweight (52 kilogram) final.

"It feels good, it took a lot of work, a lot of time, but I've got my crown back," said the 21-year-old Inner City Boxing Club member, the 51-kilogram champion in 2008

"He's a southpaw and I'd watched him the night before and he'd been eyeing me up. He came out really cocky and really got under my skin. In the first round I waited to see what he had and every time I'd come in he would drop his hands as he was moving back, so I capitalized on that."

Tied 1-1 after one round, built a 5-1 lead in Round 2 and knew the fight was his as he sat in his corner between rounds with coach Bob Pegues.

"I would catch him with my right and my left hook and in the third round I started realizing after scoring two- or three-punch combos he wasn't throwing back," said Lally. "So I started unleashing five, six, seven more punches and I started scoring.

"It was one of the best fights I've ever had. I was really focused, really determined and there was no way this guy was going to take it away from me. I worked way too hard."

Lally's 21-year-old Inner City clubmate Jag Seehra also earned a medal, winning silver in the lightweight (60kg) weight class. Seehra lost to Ayaz Hussein of Montreal in the championships bout Friday.

"Me and Jag did so much hard work to get here and it was nice to see that pay off," said Lally.

Lally still has to get through the final team selections (FTS) boxoffs in St. Hyacinthe, Que, Jan. 18-22, before he knows whether he's on Canada's A team or will drop to a B-team spot.

"I'm on the national team now and I've got to make an impact on the international stage and I'm positive I can do that now," Lally said.

He won't likely have to face Nyroya at the FTS tournament because Nyroya is a Nigerian and not a Canadian citizen. Lally is not worried about losing his national team spot to either of the other two flyweights he defeated by knockout at the national tournament. They would have to beat Lally twice to move ahead of him on the national team.

"These other guys that I stopped would have to be out of their minds to challenge me, but they're more than welcome to come and try it again, I'd love to have more experience," said Lally, who now has just 11 losses in 77 amateur fights.

To meet the Canadian Olympic team criteria, Lally must either finish in the top eight at the world championships or be at least as high as eighth at the Pan-Am Games. The Pan-Am qualifying tournament is set for March or April in Brazil. The Pan-Am Games will be in Guadalajara, Mexico in August.

"Kenny is definitely their hope for the 2012 Olympics," said Pegues.

Seehra will also be in St. Hyacinthe trying to earn a place on the B team.

"Even if Jag doesn't make the B team, which he's in line for, if there are any call-ups and somebody can't make it, he'll get the call. He'll get to go to the national training camps now, where he'll get to experience all that coaching.

"This was Jag's fifth nationals. He was cannon-fodder before and all of a sudden he's just blossomed."