27 Feb 2013

Marcio Barboza: "I'm not sure if I will ever be as strong as I was in those days ..."

One of the 50 Greatest Armwrestlers in History, multiple WAF World and National Champion, the best Armwrestlers in the Brazilian History, The "Phenomenon" Marcio Barboza gave an interview to Armwrestlers ONLY.

Hi Marcio !
- Hi Tomasz.

How is it going !
- I tore my Achilles tendon playing soccer with friends.

Uuuu, very bad news...
- 50% tear. I love soccer but it's very dangerous.

You love soccer because you are from a country where 110% of the population loves it . Over there football is at every corner 24 hours a day, so why did you start training for armwrestling, instead of football or another more popular sport?
- I had played football semi-professionally in Brazil a long time ago but I prefer individual sports. If I lose it's my fault.

Did you train other sports?
- Yes I did BJJ. I was a good fighter. I never competed but I was like a lion when training.

You live in New Jesey, USA with your family. Could you tell us more about them ?
- Yes sure. I live with my wife Simoni.  She is Brazilian. We've been married for 12 years and we got married here in the USA. We have two boys: Joshua, 3 years old and Matthew, 1 year old both born in NJ USA...

Now back to armwrestling. When did you start armwrestling ?
- My first contact with the sport was at the end of 1990,and really competing in 1991.

Who did involve you to this sport and who was you first trainer in Brazil ?
- The person who involved me was a friend: a puller named Evandro Arruda. He died a long time ago in a motorcycle accident. After him was Neno Grandezzi, the owner of World Gym in Campinas Sao Paulo.

At present you live in the US, so who are your practice partners on the table and in which club do you train ?
- Right now I don't have any place or club to practice. I used to practice with Christian Binnie, Paul Wathers, Mike Selearis, Bob Sawick and Giorgi in NJ, and sometimes at Jason Vale's house with the NY guys.

Where can we expect to see Marcio Barboza pulling this year? Do you plan take part in any supermatch events ?
- I haven't had time to really train lately, however I'll try to make ARM WARS in Vegas again.

If we talk about Vegas... could you tell us about your last match? Who did you pull at the Olympia ARM WARS event, in which division and with which arm ?
- It was very nice. I pulled Rob Vigeant Jr and beat him 4-3. I won the first three and got tired, he won two then another by fouls and I won the last one to be in the battle ground finals. It was the Heavyweight division / 220 pounds, right arm.
With the endurance in my prime and experience I think it could have won 6-0, but I was out of gas after the third round.

So who did you pull in the final ?
- I didn't pull because I hurt my elbow, it was supposed to be with Chris Chandler. I will try to pull him in Vegas this year, he is getting very good: he beat Ron Bath last year.

Do you want to pull this year only in Vegas or are you planning on attending other events ?
- Not sure yet, I say Vegas because it's going to be in the second half of the year, so it's really possible again.  Before that I won't be sure until I can start training again. I would love to be part of the UAL but again it's a bad time for me.....

Did Robert ask you or did you ask him ?
- He asked me before and Bill did too, but unfortunately it was not a good time for me. I will be back training probably in the middle of April if I'm lucky. My arms are fine I just have to have time and be focused.

Which Marcio Barboza was the strongest ?
- I would say 1998-2003 because I had no injuries. I'm not sure if I will ever be as strong as I was in those days but I'll try.

You have so many years in this sport. In your career you have been pulling in tournaments and also in supermatch format events. Which one do you prefer ?
- I love both. The tournaments that I would love to attend this year would be Nationals, WAF and Nemiroff World Cup and supermatch events Armwars and UAL.

Do you have any individuals you want to pull in a supermatch ?
- Individuals to pull here in the USA would be: Chris Chandler, Ron Bath, and Dave Chaffee and pullers like Jordan Sill and Doug Allen (because I'd never pulled these guys yet and they are doing good at the moment). Outside the US: Krasimir Kostadinov,  Khadzimurat Zoloev,  Alexey Semerenko.

What about Todd Hutchings ? At present he is injured but when healthy he could give you a good match.
- Hutchings is very tough. I pulled him once in a supermatch in Vegas.

When you look at the matches in your career which supermatch was the toughest ?
- I think that one with Todd Hutchings. Also the one with Micheal Todd at Arm Wars in London four years ago.

Ok... Who did you beat in your career during these 20+ years ?
- I basically beat every big name professional in North America in past ten years. In 2003 I beat John Brzenk twice with the right arm. In 2004 when Travis Bagent was very good I beat him at Arnolds. In 2002 I beat Travis, David Randall and Ron Bath at the GNC Pro Performance event in New York. At Get a Grip North Carolina in 2005 I beat Ron Bath 8 times in one tournament. We pulled two classes both arms. I beat Matt Girdner twice in the finals to win the WAF gold medal in 2002. That year a famous Russian took third: Ibragim Ibragimov. He had won four years in a row. It was the 110 kg weight class, right arm, and I weighed 101.5kg. I missed weight for the 100kg class. Also in my career I beat pullers like Cobra, Dave Paton, Taras Ivakin, Sylvain Perron, Devon Larratt (left), Earl Wilson, Christian Binnie, Crazy George, Mikel Gould, Eric Woelfel, Ryan Espey (both arms), Wagner Bortolato, Michael Todd, Farid Uzmanov, Don Underwood, Tim Bresnan... too many.

Those are big names on your list, very impressive... So which win are you proudest of ?
- There are too many. Some of the special ones would be WAF 2002 (when I beat Matt Girdner twice for the title), GNC Pro Performance 2001 (where I beat Travis in the final and in the same class I also pulled David Randall and Ron Bath), Arnold Classic 2004  (where I beat Travis in the final, that was funny because he was so sure he was going to win -- he had beat Voevoda three months earlier). Also beating Brzenk on TV was fantastic (David Letterman Show), beating Hutchings after being 0-2 coming back and making it 3-2 was awesome... Like I said too many to mention.

Did you have any supermatches with top Brazilian pullers ?
- Yes I did. With Bortolato I had a supermatch in Brasil at the 31st Brazilian Nationals Championship in Campinas-Sao Paulo on August 14-16th, 2009. It was a 4-rounds Battle Ground (Best 2 out of 3). In the semi-final I beat Marcelo Pinto 2:0 and Bortolato beat Reginaldo Bento 2:0. In the final I won 2:0. The same day also I beat Bortolato in the 110kg class final -- all right arm.

"PHENOMEN" is your nick name. Who gave you this nickname ?
- In Brazil "Fenomenon" was given to me by Paulo Rogerio Sabione who is the Brazilian Armwrestling Federation's President today. This is because in the first couple years I had beat most of the top pullers in the country and I was 165 to 176 pounds. After ARM WARS Neil loved to call me Primal, I don't know why but I liked it.

How meny WAF World and National Titles did you win in yours career ?
- 5 WAF World Titles and 19 Nationals (18 Brazilian and one American).

Do you watch UFC ?
- Yes I do. I love to watch UFC.

Do you think armwrestling should go in a similar direction (the way the UFC promoted and organizes its shows), or should something different be tried to develop the sport ?
- Yes, it's a smart way to promote, making people more and more interesting in the sport every event.

Marcio, thank you for this interview and AO wishes you a quick recovery so that you can come back to the table soon.
- Thanks my friend.

15 Questions Quizze ( 3 X 5 )

1. Salt or sugar ? ... Salt
2. Pizza or chamburger ? ... Pizza
3. Wine or beer ? ... Wine
4. Walk or jogging ? ... Jogging
5. Black or white ? ... Both

1. Who is your hero ? ... Jesus Christ
2. Favorite dish ? ... Play soccer
3. Any pets ... No pets
4. Favorit color ? ... Red
5. What car do you drive ? ... Ridgeline Pickup Honda

1. For my dream holiday I always wanted go ... Caribe.
2. As a teenager I always wanted be ... big and strong ... when I grow up?
3. My best friend is ... God.
4. Person who alweys impresses /ed me ... is my wife.
5. I don't like when ... people talk to me with high voice and atitude.

Interview by Tomasz Wisniowski (VISNIA)
Text editor: Eric Roussin

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