Clayton Orten Kenny
Born: December 21, 1928 (Ottawa, Ontario)
Died: June 29, 2015 (Carleton Place, Ontario)
Member: Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame (1984)
For three years in the 1950s, Clayton Kenny reigned as Canada’s amateur lightweight boxing champion.
In 1952, he boxed for Canada at the Olympics at Helsinki. Two years later, he served as captain of the Canadian boxing team competing at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games being held in Vancouver.
In April, 1952, he scored a unanimous decision over Billy Tremblett of London, Ont., to advance to the Canadian Olympic boxing trials being held in Vancouver. In his first lightweight (133 pounds) bout at the trials, he knocked out Ernie Beston of Weyburn, Sask., at 2:35 of the first round. His third bout ended when Norm Jorgensen of Vancouver was unable to come out for the second round. Kenny claimed the national title and a spot on the six-man (later expanded to seven) team dispatched to the Olympics.
“Kenny swept through his tests in flying style, going no further than one round with any of his opponents,” reported Dave Stockand of the Canadian Press.
Money was scarce in those post-war years and sponsorship limited. Low on funds, Kenny and the Canadian boxers took in ironing from other Olympians to finance the journey to Finland, according to an article by Bruce Deachman in the Citizen.
On July 28, 1952, in the Messuhalli (Exhibition Hall) in Helsinki, Kenny scored a technical knock out in the third round when the referee stopped his lightweight (60 kg) bout with Niels Bertelsen of Denmark. The effort was “a workmanlike job,” reported Milt Dunnell of the Toronto Star.
Kenny’s Olympics ended when he lost his second bout, by split decision, to István Juhász of Hungary.
Kenny was inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame in 1984. The hall credits the right-handed lightweight with winning 89 of 103 career bouts.
He was predeceased by Helene (née Dunlop), his wife of 36 years, who died in 1989. He was also predeceased by his twin brother, Lloyd, who was also an amateur fighter.
Clayton Kenny (right) in a lightweight bout against an unidentified challenger. Ottawa Citizen file photo.
Toronto Daily Star advertisement. June 7, 1948.