The path of the multiple World and European Champion in the category of 100 kg from Siberia Vitaly Laletin, according to many, resembles the path of the notorious Sylvester Stallone hero from the cult “Over the Top” movie. But, unlike the film character, who won only one major tournament, Vitaly, for many years, conquers the gold of the world armwrestling, while modestly calling himself an amateur athlete. ()
Also, just like the Sylvester Stallone hero, the two-meter Siberian giant drives a truck and even built a house with his own hands. A few years ago, in an interview, he told us that he practically didn’t train, since the schedule of a trucker does not leave him time to train. But the specificity of his job associated with the “exercises” with screwdrivers and wrenches allows him to keep the shape.
But, as they say, a person builds his plans, and his fate builds its own. And fate, in the person of Igor Mazurenko and Professional Armwrestling League, led a modest Siberian giant to professional armwrestling. Vitaly Laletin was announced as a contender for Oleg Zhokh at the historic Vendetta All Stars 2018.
When asked why an athlete, known by armwrestling experts only, was chosen to pull at the anniversary event, Igor Mazurenko said that after winning Andrey Pushkar at the Lviv Cup in 2018, Oleg Zhokh virtually had no potential rivals left on the left hand in the world. The only one who, according to his power indicators, could offer the decent resistance to a “Giant Killer” at that moment, was Vitaly Laletin.
The time has come for our “simple guy” to set aside the wrench and stop by the gym. In the spring of 2018, the promo campaign of the “star” Vendetta All Stars 50 was in full swing, and there was very little information about Vitali’s preparation. The organizers were content with his short reports that he was preparing hard for the fight. But then came the "first hand” news. Denis Tsyplenkov, who met with Vitaly at a backstage table at a tournament in Yekaterinburg, was, in his words, “shocked” by the strength of the Siberian champion’s left hand. After some time, Denis admitted that he “tested” Laletin on his right hand as well and was also very impressed.
Vitaly's right hand has long lagged behind his left in strength due to a small prolonged injury. But, starting to prepare for a duel with Oleg Zhokh on his left hand, Vitaly managed to restore his right one and tighten up its strength indicators.
The fight for which Vitaly was preparing did not take place because of the terrible car accident in which Oleg Zhokh was badly damaged. Siberian learned about this tragedy already having arrived in Poland, where the tournament was held. And, despite the fact that the duel with Oleg was postponed indefinitely, Vitaly still managed to shock someone else by his power and technical potential. Devon Larratt decided to stand at the side table with a Russian strongman and was simply discouraged by the level of physical performance of his opponent. A video of this arm wrestling session on the Armbets TV channel, eloquently illustrates what happened.
Many users of social networks, after what they saw, bombarded Igor Mazurenko with questions about Vitaly's future career.
As it is known, in 2019 PAL plans to hold the “TOP 8” tournament of the highest division of the Unified Rating of Professional Armwrestling, in which 8 strongest arm wrestlers of the planet will compete in the absolute right hand category.
Vitaly Laletin is not on the list of candidates for TOP 8, although there are names of Devon Larratt, who lost to Denis Tsyplenkov, Genadi Kvikviniya, who lost to Dave Chaffee, and Tim Bresnan, who lost to Rustam Babayev. Vitaly, who was supposed to fight at Vendetta and, in the event of victory, to have at least the moral right to participate in the tournament of the top division, stood aside.
Armpower.net also turned to Igor Mazurenko with this question. And this is what he replied:
First, as we have already stated, 2019 will be the last year when PAL will be able to select athletes to participate in armfight tournaments at its discretion. We are launching the Unified Rating of Professional Armwrestling and in 2020 TOP 8 participants will be selected exclusively based on the results of the previous season and the results of the “Zloty Tur” Professional World Cup.
Therefore, at this stage, we use this opportunity and select participants of TOP 8 on the basis of their previous achievements in professional armwrestling. I will not deny that we take into account not only the sports component, but also the marketing component when selecting candidates for participation. Unfortunately, today those athletes whom we would like to see in the top division of the rating are much more than 8 plus reserve. Therefore, we had to announce the “transitional” fights, so that the final choice would be fully justified.
But there is another very serious circumstance about which we can already speak. The three stars of world armwrestling that we would like to see in TOP 8, - Michael Todd, Dave Chaffee and Devon Larratt - are bound by contracts with WAL, and the estimated dates for the TOP 8 stages are very close to the expected dates for WAL events in 2019.
We are currently negotiating, but there is a high probability that none of them will be able to take part in TOP 8 due to previous commitments. In the event that this happens, Vitaly Laletin’s name is first in my reserve list.
What will this situation mean for “TOP 8” tournament and for athletes who will not be able to take part in it?
As you know, the main line of PAL development is the sports aspect of armwrestling events. Vitaly Laletin, in my opinion, is definitely one of the eight strongest athletes in the world on the left hand. As for the right hand, we will have to rely on his words that he now has it no worse than his left. In any case, his possible show up in the TOP 8 will only strengthen the sporting intrigue of the event.
As for Dave, Michael and Devon, I will not hide, we will miss them very much. As WAL repeatedly stated, it places greater emphasis on the entertainment component of their shows. Therefore, from a marketing point of view, they will certainly not lose much. And our doors are always open and they will always have the opportunity to take part in the TOP 8, having won the “Zloty Tur” World Cup.
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