NEW YORK-In a gut-busting showdown that combined drama, daring and indigestion, Joey Chestnut emerged Wednesday as the world's hot dog eating champion, knocking off six-time titlist Takeru Kobayashi in a rousing triumph.
Chestnut, the great red, white and blue hope in the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes-a staggering one every 10.9 seconds before a screaming crowd in Coney Island.
Chestnut won in a bun-zer beating against Kobayashi, the Japanese eating machine who recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and received chiropractic treatment due to a sore jaw. But the winner of every Nathan's hot dog competition since 2001 showed no ill effects as he stayed with Chestnut frank-for-frank until the very end of the 12-minute competition.
Kobayashi finished with 63 HDBs-hot dogs and buns eaten-in his best performance ever. His previous high in the annual competition was 53 1/2. The all-time record before Wednesday's remarkable contest was Chestnut's 59 1/2, set just last month.
The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut-the veins on his forehead extended-put away the final franks to end Kobayashi's reign.