In a chewy chow-lenge, Takeru Kobayashi outlasted Joey Chestnut when the eating titans faced off to see who could devour the most pizzas.
Kobayashi, a six-time world hot dog eating champion from Japan, consumed 53/4 P’zones in a six-minute span of chaotic consumption Saturday to edge Chestnut. The 25-year-old from San Jose, Calif., wolfed down 51/2 P’zones on Stage 15 at Sony Studios in Culver City, Calif.
“I’m a little bummed,” Chestnut said. “There’s nobody I like beating more than him. He pushes me harder than anybody.”
The archrivals are best known for their annual Fourth of July hot dog eating showdowns on New York’s Coney Island. Chestnut has beaten his Japanese competitor the last two years, winning last year in a five-dog eat-off after they tied at 59 frankfurters in 10 minutes.
This time, they went cheek-to-jowl in a stomach-centric contest sponsored by Pizza Hut featuring the P’zone, a pizza weighing one pound with pepperoni and other ingredients sealed inside a crust. At nearly 12 inches long, it resembles a calzone.
Chestnut took an early lead, squeezing a P’zone in his left fist while alternately slugging from a water bottle. Soon, liquid splashed all over Chestnut’s white jersey and dripped from his mouth.
Kobayashi took a tidier approach. He roared back to take the lead for good on his second P’zone, tearing off bites of the golden crust, then folding it over and sipping carefully from a series of white paper cups that he refilled with water.
“The crust was very chewy, so my technique was to try to drink as much water as possible to soften up the crust in my mouth,” Kobayashi said through his interpreter.
Chestnut couldn’t keep up with his 31-year-old rival.
At the six-minute mark, Kobayashi raised his arms in triumph and lifted his red jersey to show off a set of washboard abs.
“It was tough. Kobayashi came to win,” Chestnut said. “I was raised on pizza, so it was natural for me to eat it, but I was a little slow to get going, and he came out fast.”
The thought of a Japanese outeating an American in a pizza contest wasn’t lost on Kobayashi, who is recovering from TMJ, a painful jaw disorder.
“I love pizza,” he said. “When I come to America, pizza is my happiness. I look forward to eating it.”
• PHONE TAG — David Beckham learned a lesson in phone etiquette last week, which is: When you’re being paid millions of dollars to promote a certain mobile phone, it is best to avoid using a competitor’s product in public.
Italian paparazzi caught Beckham in a Milan restaurant tinkering with an iPhone at his table. Beckham is the front man for Motorola’s new Aura phone advertising campaign.
Sensing he was spotted, Beckham sheepishly hid the phone under the table.
Mused the Web site celebritysellout.co.uk: Beckham was “no doubt playing the iPhone Pro Evolution Soccer app, where the version of Beckham in the game has more speed” than in real life.
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