March 15, 2013 Posted by Rohan Dodds in Australian / Local

2013 FitX Armwrestling Cup

Fast becoming one of the most anticipated events in the Australian Armwrestling calender, the 2013 FitX Championship certainly provided all the intensity and excitement expected from our invited competitors. This competition also saw the level of strength, competitive fire, and technical proficiency once again take another huge leap forward for the sport in this country, setting the bar ever higher for those wishing to compete and excel amidst fierce rivalry.

There were some scheduling conflicts on the day (as is often the case with large events), with some events prior to the Armwrestling running slightly over their allotted time, but thanks to the quick thinking of FitX and AAF administrative staff the event, even though no longer to be held on the main stage, the competition would run smoothly and quickly once it was moved over into the strongman arena. Offering a truly unique spectacle for those who may have only come to FitX for the supplement samples and photos with Ronnie Coleman of bodybuilding fame, but stuck around a little longer to see an event that managed to stand out like a lighthouse beacon amidst a sea of stands all vying for public attention, those who watched were not disappointed as the action finally took place.

Emily Friedel

Competitors nervously await the competition start

Never before has a competition in Australia seen its competitors in their respective weight classes so evenly matched, and only speculations could be made as to who would be the dominant man in his category on the day. Melbourne was already entering into a heat wave as the weekend got underway, and the competitors may have only added to the situation as their pacing and pre contest mental preparation seemed to raise the temperature surrounding them by several degrees.

Speculation as to who will walk away with victory is something that goes hand in hand in with competition, people love to talk, and Armwrestling is no exception to this fact. The FitX Championship closely followed the National Championship, so those who were victorious at the Nationals clearly had targets on their backs at FitX for those who are still working their way through the ranks.

Emily Friedel

John Brzenk watches on.

Although some of the country’s best were not able to make it to Melbourne to compete, returning to compete after leaving the Nationals victorious were Sam Saffuri, Grant Tolentino, Jamie Carle, Phil Rasmussen, Adam Laura, Ryan Scott, and those who are always competitive and a threat to all others such as Jesse Johnson, Big John Talo, Brett Coutts (returning to competition after a small absence from competition) just to name a few. An added threat to this year’s Australian competitors were the two dominant New Zealand armwrestlers from the ‘Brothers in Arms: Rotorua’ armwrestling club, Maateiwarangi (Maat) Heta-Morris and Monty Corbett. Coming off very convincing wins in the heavies and middleweight classes respectively at the 2012 Auckland Armwrestling Championships, and proving themselves to both be incredibly powerful armwrestlers, both were here to walk away with victories, and no one was going to have an easy time taking that away from them. Having John Brzenk, unquestionably the greatest armwrestler who has ever lived, watching on was additional incentive for competitors to give their very best performances. The knowledge that John was looking on from the stands added fuel to the competitive fire, creating a frenzied attitude in those waiting for their turn to lock arms on the table. It was an electric atmosphere.

This was a double elimination draw (two losses and a competitor is eliminated), right hand only, limited to 8 competitors in three weight classes being 80kg, 80 – 95kg, and 95kg+, so matches were going to be fast and furious giving very little rest to those who fell into hard battles in any of their matches.


After the 2012 Nationals, all eyes were on Sam Saffuri and Grant Tolentino as the favorites to meet in the final match within their class, and it was no surprise when the two matched up again to fight it out with all the intensity now becoming expected from these two men when they meet. Like our heavier classes, the 80kg class was otherwise very evenly matched and hard fought until Grant and Sam worked their way through all potential challengers. Zurab Kavtaradze, visiting from New Zealand, was a strong contender with a powerful hook, and Jesse Johnson was a threat to all as usual yet had his work cut out for him trying to top roll against Sam and Grant, both very strong hookers. Once again, this was a very hard fought weight class, and Chris, Andrew, Jay, and Alfred all showed much promise and power to bring to any future competitions.

Final Standings

1. Sam Saffuri
2. Grant Tolentino
3. Jesse Johnson
4. Zurab Kavtaradze
5. Chris Brindley
6. Andrew Manfre
7. Jay Puthusseri
8. Alfred Cauker


For anyone who gripped up with him on the table at the AAF booth on the day before the competition Monty Corbett was a serious threat to the Australian contingent. He was fast, powerful, and not having been on the table with any of the Australians before would only lead to others guessing just how convincingly he would or may not (although he did) make his way through the competition…until he came up against Brett Coutts. Brett is big. Not just for 95kg, either. Brett is big…period, and although coming back from a break from competing you would never have known it as he pulled through each opponent he faced with an unmatched level of raw power. Brett's return to competition may possibly create a "flee" response in his weight class, much like the great powerlifter, Ed Coan, was responsible for in his time as a competitive powerlifter. Those close to the weight limit will put on weight and move up, those closer to being on the lighter end of the scale will drop down. Only the brave will stick around to face him now. The only other two competitors to give Brett and Monty a sense of resistance were 2012 National Champions, Jamie Carle and Phil Rasmussen, both powerful as always and meeting each other in an incredibly intense match that saw an elbow foul just before Phil could get the upper hand on Jamie, sending them to the straps with Jamie’s hit only just getting the better of Phil when they were locked together in the straps. All competitors were strong on the day, and while some old rivalries were kept alive, new ones were also forged for the future.

Final Standings

1. Brett Coutts
2. Monty Corbett
3. Jamie Carle
4. Phil Rasmussen
5. Rohan Dodds
6. Andrew Lea
7. Damien Mullen
8. Mike Sung


From what was seen over the weekend, it is clear that Maat Heta-Morris, like his training partner Monty Corbett, came over to Australia to win and prove that New Zealand is a country that is fast building a base of competitors who will no doubt travel further than across the Tasman Sea in the future to challenge anyone and everyone they can. Both are too big for New Zealand alone to contain them. Maat is the definition of big and powerful, and although coming up against men who would prove to be incredibly tough competition for the Kiwi such as Shaun Hennessey, John Talo, and Adam Laura, Maat stamped his authority as the current dominant super heavyweight armwrestler on either side of the pond. Absent from the 2012 Nationals, Doug Fatafehi came to Melbourne to make sure that everyone would now be aware that he is a force as a Super Heavyweight armwrestler, and this he did, with a hook too powerful even for many of the biggest men present to fight off. No mean feat when considering the names in this division, most of who are used to plowing through all others on the table, even on a national scale. There were some noticeable absences in the super heavyweights, and with their return in the future this class will only become tougher and more unpredictable as to who will come out on top.

Final Standings

1. Maateiwarangi Heta-morris
2. Doug Fatafehi
3. Adam Laura
4. John Talo
5. Shaun Hennessey
6. Ryan Scott
7. Peks Nanai
8. Peter Cutting

Without question, the 2013 FitX Championship provided some of the best Armwrestling this country has seen so far, with our competitors looking stronger each time and their technical proficiency on the table seeming to improve vastly with each and every competition. With those currently competing in Australia continuing to train harder and harder, evolving all the time, and more of those involved within the strength community taking an interest in Armwrestling as a competitive outlet for their strength, competition will only become more difficult both in Australia and New Zealand. This will only prove to create athletes well and truly deserving of international recognition, earning every title they receive in a sport that continues to expand at a rapid rate in both countries. The Australian Armwrestling Federation would like to offer our deepest gratitude and thanks to all of those who made the 2013 FitX Armwrestling Competition the success it was, and without who events of this scale would not be possible.

  • Our sponsors, Bulk Nutrients and CJD equipment, who both continue to support our organisation and the sport of Armwrestling in Australia, allowing us to put on better and better competitions with a level of professionalism that would be almost impossible otherwise.
  • The FitX organisation, for hosting the event and offering their platform for us to give the sport greater exposure to the public than it would otherwise receive.
  • Emily Friedel for her focus in capturing all of the most exciting moments of the weekend on camera.
  • Ron Laura, who once again gave his time and support to the AAF by doing an incredible job as the competition MC.
  • All of the AAF committee and members present who gave their time not only as competitors but as an incredible support base to see that the Australian Armwrestling Federation would be a name now well known to all FitX patrons. A lot of work goes into seeing that this sport continues to grow, and those involved are doing an incredible job.
  • And last but without question not least, our referees on the day, Brendan Downes and Ryan Phillips. We would be hard pressed to find anyone better to carry out what could still be considered the most difficult task of the day than Brendan and Ryan, and both men ran all action on the table smoothly, justly, and confidently. No one could question any of the calls made on the day, and can be confident that if a decision was made it was undoubtedly the right one.

We are very fortunate to have the ongoing support of all of you, and look forward to moving on to ever bigger and better things.



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