At the Bronxboro Arm Wresting Championship last month, crowds got to cheer on a hometown favorite as he wrestled his way to winning two weight-classes.
Although Pelham Bay native Mike Hall narrowly lost the overall prize of Bronx Strongest Arm Winner, which comes with a $500 reward, getting to wrestle in front of the thousands of people that came to the event was prize enough, he said. “I loved it. I had everyone screaming my name. Thousands of people were walking by and they’d all cheer when they heard the guy from the Bronx is taking down the guy from Turkey,” he said. “That’s why I love arm wrestling in the Bronx, I get to represent the borough.”
There were 77 athletes, some from as far away as Russia, competing in the event on Sunday, May 23. It was held as part of the Bronx Week Food and Arts Festival.
Roman Tsindeliani, of Russia, won the Bronx Strongest Arm for right-handers, and Alex Pilosev won the title for left-handers. On the women’s side, Joyce Boone won it for right-handers and Kristen Czerw won the title for lefties. Bronx native Anna Rosa also placed third in the pro women’s category.
Mike hall took first place in the 198-lb and super heavy-weight professional right-handed categories. He also came in fourth place in the team championship with his brother Jason, who also placed third in the amateur 198-pound right handed class.
Last month’s competition was the 27th held annually in the Bronx. Event organizer and New York Arm Wrestling Club Association president, Gene Camp, said that Sunday’s event drew one of the largest crowds the Bronx competition has seen.
“We had a packed audience all day long,” he said. “We had probably the best audience down there. All day you had anywhere from 1,000 to 800 watching. I’m sure everybody at the festival took an eye full of it.”
Hall has been arm wrestling professionally for about three years. He trains by lifting weights and doing special arm exercises for forearm strength. Although he won the weight classes by striking quickly, he said, he lost to the Russian champion because of sheer strength.
“If you’re a professional, you know the technique, so it’s about who is stronger,” he said, adding that his opponent hadn’t lost a match in seven years. The weight-class wins were “pretty good for me, but I’ve got to train a little harder if I want to be a world champion like that guy is.”
For now, he’ll keep training.
Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 718-3394 or firstname.lastname@example.org