Arm wrestlers show off their strength, skills, passion and humility in exhibition

Arm wrestlers traveled from the North and Midlands to take part in a Supermatch in Stoke-on-Trent. The event took place today (Saturday) at Fenton Manor sports complex as part of the Potteries Ink Festival tattoo convention.

Most of those who took part in today’s 12 matches were ‘Novice Level Pullers’, but there was one big match between two of the UK’s up-and-coming Super Heavyweight arm wrestlers – Adam Kaczor, of Blackpool, and John Scowby of Derby.

Organizer James Beech, 39, of Sneyd Green, has been arm wrestling for three years. He said: “I was always good at it when I was younger. I got in touch with a club in Chesterfield and that’s where I started training. I fell instantly in love.

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“There’s a lot more involvement than I thought. It’s not just about who’s stronger. A lot of it is technical, leverage and angles. It’s as close as it gets. of a combat sport without being punched in the face. . But there are guys who win by brute force.”

The event attracted big names including 25-time British champion Mighty Paul Maiden, from Leigh. James, a gas engineer by trade, said: “He’s technically the best arm wrestler in the UK. He’s phenomenal.

James Beech has a battle with Stefan Hanks at Arm Wrestling Supermatch at Fenton Manor

“When I started, I was the only person in town to arm wrestle competitively. The sport is for all shapes, sizes and ages, no matter how old you are.

“There was an article about me on StokeonTrent Live and in The Sentinel I had some random guys from Stoke who wanted to get involved so I started my own little club. I have a table in my garage and half a dozen guys come in to train. My main training is with Paul at Leigh, I train about eight hours a week.

“Before, there were two tournaments a year. Now things are happening all the time. Today’s event was in Supermatch format, which is better for exhibitions. The guys were from Liverpool, Blackpool, Preston, Leigh Most were first time guys.

“Seated arm wrestling is a different sport. It was standing arm wrestling, real arm wrestling.”

Chris Thomas, 32, from Newcastle, who works as a job coach, got involved after reading the article about James. He said: “I’ve always been in it and spent years watching it on TV. I’m riddled with injuries from head to toe. The only thing I have is a good arm. I contacted Jim and the rest is I’m training in his garage, arm wrestling is gaining momentum.

“It was my first match. Jim always said there was no one left undefeated. You start badly and you get better and better.”

Musician Steve Clay, 45, from Biddulph, said: “I saw it on the internet and was totally hooked. It’s very addictive. Everyone gets along. It was my third game. The buzz is still there. It’s like a If you lose, it’s the most humiliating sport you can find. You’ll probably lose more than you win.

Matthew Halliday, 47, from Stoke, said: “I competed twice about 15 years ago. It was the first since then.

“I enjoyed it. Although I was short and skinny, I was one of the best at arm wrestling at St Peter’s High School, Penkhull. It was something I excelled at. I didn’t like football and rugby but I found I had an ability to arm wrestle I was better than most of my classmates.

Freelance tiler Adam Barnett, 30, from Caverswall, said: “It was a suggestion when we were locked down during covid. I remembered it when I was a kid at school. I grew up on a farm and I was naturally strong. I remember beating everyone. I found Jim and started training. I love it and haven’t looked back.

“It’s a brilliant sport. All the people look really nice and wholesome. Everyone wants to see you at your best. It’s a big family. Everyone looks out for each other. There’s has a good sense of community.”

Oliver John Hart, 50, of Birches Head, said: “I want Stoke to become the center of arm wrestling for the world. It’s more than a sport. There’s a real connection. It’s huge in America and Russia. It’s always raw and honest.”

Paul Maiden, 44, from Leigh, who has won the national title 25 times, said: “The sport is growing. If you contact the PAA (Professional Armwrestling Association) UK and Ireland they will put you in touch with a The number of tournament participants has increased from 30 to 200.

“People assume they’re burly men with beards and tattoos, but there’s a place for everyone, regardless of weight or class, there’s a place for women, over 50s and people with disabilities.”

To join the Stoke Arm Wrestling Club contact James Beech on 07951 043538.

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