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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Sunday, July 05, 2015

    No Holds Barred: Richard Lupkes on July 12 PAL Arm Wrestling 

    On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with the multi-time world and national champion arm wrestler Richard Lupkes.

    Known as the father of arm wrestling in Minnesota where he lives on his farm, and now 58 years old, he is still actively competing. He will be facing Andrey Pushkar of Ukraine in a super heavyweight match on what will be the first in a series of regularly scheduled cards in Las Vegas under the Professional Armwrestling League (PAL) USA banner.

    This four-match card, called "Vendetta in Vegas", takes place Sunday, July 12, at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be televised on tape-delay in the U.S. on CBS Sports Network and internationally as well.

    We spoke with Richard Lupkes by phone Thursday.

    While he has an experience advantage on his opponent, Andrey Pushkar, who is just 29, many are asking how his age will affect his performance, especially with each match consisting of a best-of-six rounds format, with only a one-minute break between rounds.

    "Well, it's definitely been getting a lot harder," he said. "I felt actually really good up to about 54. Now these last four or five years it's starting to catch up to me," he said, with a laugh.

    "I spend probably two to three hours in a gym. I really enjoy working out with the weights. I don't practice as much the arm wrestling."

    He said he still does "luckily win some matches here and there. And I know it's going to be a big uphill grind here against Andrey, but I'm really looking forward to it. It should be an interesting match."

    We also discussed how he trains other athletes in sports like wrestling and football, the potential for arm wrestling to grow in the U.S. as a spectator sport in part because "everybody's done it", how arm wrestling is "huge" in Europe with regular TV shows, his recovery from a torn biceps which had sidelined him for several years, and much more.

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