Hilmer Kenty defeated Ernesto Espana by a ninth-round TKO to win the World Boxing Association Lightweight Championship on March 2, 1980, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. He became Detroit's first world champion since Joe Louis, who held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1937 to 1949. Kenty was also the first world champion for trainer Emanuel Steward and the Kronk Gym.
Kenty successfully defended the WBA title three before losing it to Sean O'Grady by a 15-round unanimous decision on April 12, 1981. It was Kenty's first professional defeat.
Three months after losing to O'Grady, Kenty had surgery to repair a detached retina in his right eye. He returned to the ring in July 1982 and went 9-1 before retiring in 1984 at age 29.
Kenty is the younger brother of former lightweight boxer Forrest Winchester.
- Amateur Record: 106-30
- 1972 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Semi-Finalist, losing on points to Ray Theragood.
- 1973 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Finalist, losing on points to Sugar Ray Leonard.
- 1974 National AAU Lightweight Champion, defeating Aaron Pryor on points in the final.
- 1974 Lightweight Quarter-Finalist at the inaugural World Amateur Championships in Havana, Cuba. His results were:
- Defeated Tsvetan Tsvetkov (Bulgaria) PTS
- Defeated Eroll Johnson (Jamaica) PTS
- Lost to Jose Luis Vellon (Puerto Rico) PTS
- 1975 National AAU Lightweight Champion, defeating Juan Ruiz on points in the final.
- 1976 National Golden Gloves Lightweight Quarter-Finalist, losing on points to Aaron Pryor.
- 1976 National AAU Lightweight Semifinalist, losing on points to Howard Davis Jr.
- 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials Lightweight Semi-Finalist, losing on points to Aaron Pryor.
- 3 opponents (2 by KO) beaten for World Lightweight Title.
- "Kronk’s Hilmer Kenty - From AAU to WBA Champion!" Interview By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing, January 31, 2011
| WBA Lightweight Champion
1980 Mar 2 – 1981 Apr 12