2015 Lightweight Finals Recap

August 5th 2015

It was a night of new blood rising tempered by reigning champs defending their titles Wednesday night at the World Armwrestling League’s lightweight championships on ESPN2.

Thirty-six 165-pounders battled their way through thousands of opponents nationwide to make it to the finals.

And while at least one WAL-newcomer made his mark on the competition, proving once again that anyone with the arm strength and dedication can make their name in the WAL, last year’s champs on the left and right arms ultimately prevailed.

On the right arm, Latvian physiotherapist Janis “The Jedi” Amolins defended his 2014 title, and once again hoisted $20,000 in cash and the WAL Hammer of Champions.

On the left side, Paul “The Assassin” Talbott, a train conductor, came through and successfully became the left lightweight champion for a second year in a row.

But while the defending champs proved they remain at the top of the lightweight mountain, it was the "'Bama Bull" who charged into the upper brackets and smashed into the top rankings of the league. Justin “The Bama Bull” Bishop, a 25-year-old carpenter out of Alabama, wasn’t on the WAL radar last year, but two two second-place finishes in the lightweight championships, taking down legends of the sport on his way.

“People don’t understand how much work people put into this sport,” Bishop said. “They’ve been doing it for years, for nothing. You lay 20 grand on the table, people are gonna come do that much more.”

“Lightning” Luke Kindt, a 32-year-old diesel mechanic out of Petaluma, CA, has been a pillar of the lightweight division for a while. He came into the 2015 light finals aiming to finally pull Amolins and Talbott out of the way. But it was not to be, and he placed 4th in the right lightweight standings.

He still earned some cash, but the California Kid’s ascension will have to wait.

On his other arm, Talbott placed third in the right light standings, while Amolins took 3rd on the left. “The High Chief” Ron Klemba, a 57-year-old psychotherapist from Connecticut, took fourth in the left light battle, coming ever so close to marching into the final rounds.

Arms exhausted, hands covered in chalk, Bishop succinctly summarized the feelings behind the world’s top lightweights at the end of Wednesday’s championships.

“It might look easy, but it’s a lot harder than it looks,” he said. “I just kept looking at all that money I can win.”

WAL’s 2015 season on ESPN continues at 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Aug. 12, when the cream of the middleweight crop throw down.

Heavyweight and super heavyweight competition follows in the weeks after that. Check out our full TV schedule here for more details on when you can watch WAL.