WATCH: Joey Chestnut Manhandles Protester While Scarfing Down 63 Hot Dogs In 15th July Fourth Contest Win
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 04: Defending Champion Joey Chestnut competes in the 2022 Nathans Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 04, 2022 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. Chestnut consumed 63 hot dogs. The contest, which has happened every year since 1972, was back in front of Nathan’s Famous on Surf Avenue this year. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/ Getty Images)
Alexi Rosenfeld/ Getty Images

World record hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut manhandled a protester mid-competition before winning his record 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Chestnut, 38, finished the event scarfing down 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes, beating out his next closest competitor by a full 20 dogs, according to The Athletic. Making his feat even more impressive, Chestnut won the vaunted Mustard Belt after grabbing a protester by the neck and throwing him down when the disruptor made his way on stage mid-contest.

It’s unclear what statement the protester was attempting to make.

Chestnut’s win marks his 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest victory in 16 years in an undeniable tour de force in the sport of competitive eating. His mark of 63 hot dogs fell far short of his world-record-setting performance at last year’s contest when he finished 76 within 10 minutes.

Chestnut competed with a tendon injury in his leg, surprising fans on Friday when he showed up to the event’s official weigh-in on crutches and wearing a medical boot.

Miki Sudo, an eight-time Nathan’s champion, won the women’s division held on Sunday, according to the New York Post.

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest returned to its usual venue at Nathan’s in Coney Island, Brooklyn, this year for the first time since 2019.

“It’s beautiful to be back here,” Chestnut told ESPN in front of a crowd of supporters. The hot dog-eating legend said his injury slowed him down the stretch.

“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it,” Chestnut said before the pain became too much and began to interfere with his eating.

Neighborhood resident Joe Manny celebrated the return of the event as a return to “normal” after the 2020 pandemic.

“I would always come to Coney Island every Fourth of July for this competition so being back in person as we emerge from the pandemic feels great because I didn’t think the world would get back to normal,” he told the Post.

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