Dylan Henry lunged with wide looping hooks and followed with a couple of vicious uppercuts.
He worked Royce Bredemeier’s body, took a couple of shots to the head, and answered in kind.
“This is what I do,” Henry said after he won his eighth gold medal in boxing in the Cornhusker State Games on Saturday at Southeast Community College. “I love the sport as much as I love the discipline it takes to get ready to box.”
Henry, a 26-year-old office furniture installer, has been boxing for 10 years. He’s won a majority of his 55 amateur bouts and has a good start on a side hobby -- mixed martial arts.
“That MMA is way different and gets a lot of the boxing hardcore folks upset, but I really like the combat and boxing helps a lot because we start standing up and get to use the hands as much as possible,” said Henry.
Henry explained the State Games were an annual competition for him.
“It’s the only time I get to box locally and have friends around and see a lot of the guys I’ve trained with or boxed with, and I have a great time,” he said.
Henry trains at the Southside Boxing Club under 50-year boxing veteran John Kuebler.
“I coach the little guys and some pros and a couple of guys like Dylan,” Kuebler said. “He’s been around forever and he tries harder and works harder every day. He’s a lot of fun to be around and he’s had some success.”
Henry has qualified for four national Golden Glove championships. He even won a bout recently.
“The travel, the excitement of facing guys who you don’t know anything about and the dream — although it’s still a dream — of making the Olympic team some day, keeps me going,” Henry said.
Boxing numbers were down a little this year, according to boxing co-director Doug Emery.
“We were fortunate to have a couple of USA boxing-sanctioned guys show up at the last minute to fill out a card just as we’re fortunate to have guys like Dylan show up year after year,” said Emery, who is a long-time boxing judge and current is a city councilman.
Bredemeier filled in as Henry’s foe for the day.
“Thanks to him for stepping up,” said Henry. “I trained with him at Southside Gym before he got a job and his hours made him move to the Lincoln Boxing Gym. He can throw a punch, and I had to be careful, too.”
As for a future in cage fighting, Henry said he is unsure.
“I box, then I do some martial arts fighting, then back to boxing,” he said. “All in all, the respect I have for boxing is still on top. I’m still learning something new every day. I’ve learned to push my body beyond what I thought I could do in boxing. I’m learning some of that in MMA, too.