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Aussie pro training for hot dog eating comp by wolfing down burgers



James Webb is no ordinary Australian.

In less than two years, he has gone from his job in sales, to becoming the nation's number one competitor in professional eating.

Born to a big Croatian family in Baulkham Hills, James' training would begin early.

"If you talked and didn't eat, you went hungry," says James, "and if you didn't eat, everyone thinks you're sick."

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But it would be on a Hunter Valley wine tour with his fiance, and a stopover at a pub with a big burger-eating challenge, where James' talent was revealed.

It wasn't long after conquering the pub challenge that James started receiving invites to other eating comps.

Before long, James was in the US, and duking it out on the circuit there.

He would have two big eating wins; in pizza and corn cobs.

"Cause I did well in those two contests, I got a major league eating contract," says James.

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Professional eater James Webb trains for Hot dog competition in Coney Island by eating burgers.

His new contract in April last year would eventually lead him to the super bowl of eating competitions: Nathan's Hotdogs, Coney Island, on American Independence Day.

"I probably went too hard, too fast," concedes James, "it was a big stage against the best guys."

James would finish a respectable fourth.

And that was against the best of the best in the world of pro eating: 15 times champion and record holder Joey Chestnut.

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"I don't think anyone will ever match him, so just to get closer to him will be a massive achievement in itself."

James' preferred technique is the bite push.

"You have to relax your throat, you take a big bite, and then you use your next bite to push it down, so you minimise chewing."

His preferred drink: Coke Zero.

"So when you burp, the air comes out, the food goes down, and you can fit more."

Today at Slim's Burgers in Marrickville, James is in training, but like leg day, today is about capacity, not speed.

"We wanna build up the size inside that gut there. Stretch the stomach as much as possible," James informs.

And after a strictly timed 20 minutes, along with 15 burgers, one large fries, one large loaded fries and three-and-a-half large Coke Zeros, James would be happy with today's hit out.

"How you feeling?" I enquire.

"I'm alright," says James, "but I could really do with a McFlurry".

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