With the strength of his namesake, an arm wrestler named after cinema’s most famous gorilla has been crowned king of the sport.
Daniel Tutt, also known as Kong Tutt, won the right arm heavyweight division of the British Armwrestling Federation’s British Novice Armwrestling Championship in Manchester on November 3, beating 15 other competitors to the top title.
The 33-year-old, of Western Row, Worthing, upset the competition with his win after coming fifth last year and getting ‘absolutely destroyed’ in his own words the year before, which was his first attempt at the title.
Of his recent success, the champion said: “I was aiming for fourth or fifth place, but when I kept winning I thought I can do this. In the final, I gave it everything and managed to come away with a win.
“It was amazing. I rang my wife and started crying, saying ‘I’ve done it!’ like Rocky.”
After dislocating his left shoulder twice, Daniel gave up boxing and was looking for a new hobby when his twin brother Mitchell recommended Pulling John, a documentary about iconic arm wrestler John Brzenk.
It inspired him to join the Sussex Arms arm wrestling club in Bognor Regis in 2014, where he has honed his skills alongside pumping iron at Trax health and fitness club in Heene Road.
Due to his love of gorillas and the film King Kong – and the way his back arches out when competing – he earned the nickname Kong Tutt at his club. Mitchell also trains there and is known as the Vanilla Gorilla. A successful powerlifter and weighing 117kg – around 17kg heavier than his twin – Mitchell made a good training partner, Daniel said.
He said one of the secrets to his success was his speed after the referee started the face-off, despite being deaf and having to read their lips.
He used this to his advantage on November 3 to beat his fellow finalist in five seconds during the bout, which was done standing up – unlike pub arm wrestling.
He said another common misconception about competitive arm wrestling was it is all about strength. In fact, ‘technique, body weight and speed work’ were key. He said: “You can have a massive arm, but it doesn’t mean you will win. It is all about wrist strength. I have tiny hands compared to some guys I go up against, so I rely on my wrist and upper arm strength.”
The SGN employee said digging holes for work had helped build his muscles – but his work colleagues did not make worthy adversaries.
He said: “There are some big guys at my yard, and they can’t even move my arm.”
Daniel’s gold rush began in May this year, when he got a trophy for coming third in a Sussex Arms competition.
As novice champion, the next step for him is the European and World championships on the professional circuit.
His short-term aim was to ‘not eat too much Christmas dinner’ and shed some weight ready for the Iron Arm pro competition in February.
He said: “I gave myself five years to win this and I won it in three. I’m giving myself another five years to win a pro title.”