Competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut is mentally and physically prepared to bring home another hot dog eating championship, but he’s got a seriously bad taste left in his mouth from his attitude towards a former rival when the two were up and coming eaters.
Chestnut was in NYC this week ahead of the 2018 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which has become a 4th of July staple.
The 34-year-old won the title last year by downing 72 dogs, but Chestnut feels he could have performed better if his foil Takeru Kobayashi was still on the eating circuit. The two eaters went head-to-head back in the day, with the Japanese star besting the American multiple times with not just hot dogs, but other food comps as well.
Chestnut admits he was young and mean, and now says he enjoyed the competition. Kobayashi stopped competing with Chestnut a few years back after contract disputes with the Major League Eating organization, and some critics believe Chestnut lost the eye of the tiger when his rival left.
However, the American eating legend has another championship to try and win today, and he plans on doing just that.