Arm wrestling legend Ryan Espey is one step closer to reclaiming his number-one ranking in the world. The Portager took part in two matches this past weekend, one with his right arm and one with his left.
Espey battled adversity with his left arm as he lost the first bout in the best-of-three contest but came back to win 3-1 in the end. With his right hand, the situation was a little different as he came in as the underdog.
"I fouled out of the first match, an elbow foul. In the second match, we went into a hook. We stayed in the middle of the table for a pretty long time. I couldn't bring him back, and he couldn't finish me. We battled it out a little bit but eventually, my arm went down," Espey explains. "In the third match, I was able to initiate what's called a 'King's Move' among arm wrestling fans. Basically, he's got his arm fully extended, he's below the table, and you're not really allowed to do that. So, he ended up getting a foul. Match number four, I needed to win but unfortunately, I did not."
While Espey is a little disappointed in the outcome, it was his first match back with his right arm since being injured a year ago. With that in mind, Espey was proud that he was about to hold his own against the reigning Canadian national champion.
"If I was going to compare how I feel right now, my left arm is considerably more sore than my right arm is," says Espey. "I had been training it but I just hadn't competed with it. It feels healthy, so that's a good sign, and we'll continue moving forward."
With his left arm, the Hall of Famer came into this matchup as the third-ranked super heavyweight in the world and holds that spot after the win.
"It's actually laid out pretty clearly. The number one and number two guys are competing against each other on December 10th in Arkansas. They're going to determine truly who one and two are, and they're already talking about me being the next challenger for the number one spot."
Espey says he's extremely excited about the opportunity to become the best in the world once again but he notes that even though he's being discussed as the next in line, he still has more work to do.
"It still takes a promoter willing to put it on. We've already been asked to compete at the Canada versus USA event in Las Vegas in June. Both of those guys, number one and number two, happen to be Americans. So, it works out pretty well for that event."
The Portage product will be continuing to compete with both of his arms and notes he gives his wife Victoria immense credit for his success this past weekend.
"I have my wife, who has always been my biggest cheerleader, to thank because it was actually my wedding anniversary on Saturday, and she let me go compete in arm wrestling," Espey continues. "That was pretty amazing of her to let me do my thing on a day that was special for both of us."