Rex Layne was a Salt Lake City sugar beet farmer when he won the 1949 National AAU Heavyweight Championship vs. Gilmore Newkirk. According to the Oct. 29, 1949 Tacoma News Tribune, Layne was a Mormon who was a staff sergeant with an airborne division in World War II for 19 months, serving some time in Japan. He did not start boxing until he joined the Army. "When they sent out a call for boxing candidates at Soporo, Japan, he won the heavyweight championship of our troops in Nippon. Returning home in 1947, he dropped a close decision in an Olympic tryout to Jay Lambert, who won the United States Olympic title, and lost a decision in the London semifinals. Last spring Layne lost a close verdict to Utah State's Dale Panter in the Utah Golden Gloves, but earned a trip to Boston acquiring the A.A.U. Intermountain amateur championship by a knockout. In the Hub he won four bouts, three by knockouts, to account for the national championship."
| National AAU Heavyweight Champion