By the time most boxers are 27, they’re fighting professionally or no longer competing.
Not Dylan Henry. Now in his 12th year in the sport, he’s still entering the ring as an amateur.
The 27-year-old from Lincoln will be fighting for the 141-pound title again at this weekend’s Midwest Golden Gloves tournament, which begins Saturday night at 7 at Council Bluffs’ TipTop Ballroom.
Henry already has won three regional titles, claiming championships at 141 from 2009-11. He’s previously fought at National Golden Gloves tournaments in Grand Rapids, Mich., Salt Lake City, Little Rock, Ark. and Indianapolis. With a win Saturday, he’s headed to Salt Lake City again.
And he said that will likely be his final amateur boxing competition.
“My plan is to turn pro at the end of the summer,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I would probably already be a pro if I hadn’t advanced my skills into cagefighting. To compete at the amateur level, you have to be an amateur in boxing. I was trying to stay within my skill level.”
Henry has been competing in both combat sports for the past three years, using a rigorous four-day training schedule at Longoria’s Black Belt Academy in Lincoln. He dedicates 90 minutes to two hours to mixed martial arts Mondays and the same to boxing on Tuesdays.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, he spends two hours boxing then 90 minutes on MMA. And that is after working a full day as an office installer for Office Interiors & Design in Lincoln.
“I’m lugging stuff up and down stairs. It’s very physically demanding,” Henry said. “For the kids that want to cry that they’ve worked all day and didn’t have time for practice, I make it work and I have a physically demanding job. I really think that anybody could do it.”
Henry, who beat 2012 Midwest champion Paul Whiteface of South Dakota in the recent Grand Island District tournament, is scheduled to meet Omaha winner Treven Coleman-Avant in the 141-pound final for a berth in the national tournament. The Lincoln fighter fell short of a fourth straight regional title last year by dropping a decision to Omaha’s Zach Hunt at 132.
That loss served as motivation as he returns to 141 for presumably the final time.
“I think I learned from last year, just barely falling short of a decision,” he said. “I don’t like that feeling at all. I plan on doing enough to pull this one out and making one last trip.”
Also Saturday, Dylan’s younger brother Dane seeks his fourth national tournament berth when he meets three-time Midwest champion Raul Chavarria of Omaha at 152. Chavarria topped Dylan Henry for the 152-pound title in 2008 before beating Dane in the final in 2009.
All three fighters were last Midwest champions in 2011.
Oliver Rivera of Grand Island, who has won regional titles in two different weight classes, seeks his third straight championship Saturday. And Abel Soriano of Omaha, ranked second nationally at 114 pounds, is seeking his second Midwest crown after winning one in 2011.