­AFP

NEW YORK

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who for eight straight years gobbled up all comers in the famed Nathan’s hot dog eating contest in New York, finally met his match Saturday.

Chestnut, 31, was defeated by Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, 23, his longtime rival in the niche competitive eating circuit. Stonie devoured 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, two more than Chestnut at the hugely popular July 4 contest, held each year on the boardwalk of Brooklyn’s Coney Island and broadcast live on television. It was ketchup-flavored revenge for Stonie, who was runnerup to Chestnut in last year’s showdown. The women’s contest was won by veteran competitive eater Miki Sudo, who wolfed down 38 hot dogs. That was seven more than second-placed finisher Sonya Thomas, a former champ with multiple eating records under her belt.

Saturday’s event was beamed live to a national audience by ESPN television and also drew thousands of spectators.

“I trained hard for this. This is actually amazing,” Stonie, who carried home a $10,000 prize and the coveted mustard yellow winner’s belt, told ESPN. “We don’t just go up there and eat hot dogs. We practise for this. We prepare our bodies.” A visibly disappointed Chestnut — whose name was trending on Twitter in the wake of defeat — said: “I’ve been looking for competition for a long time and I finally have it.”

The deposed champ added that he would be back next year to reclaim his crown: “He made me hungry.” The uniquely American tradition dates back 99 years. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs — one of America’s best-known purveyors of wieners — says it has held its Independence Day contest since 1916, when the winner consumed a relatively measly 13 hot dogs.

To get the hot dogs down, each contestant has his or her own peculiar trick, but one standard technique includes eating the bread separately after first soaking it in water, then stuffing the meat down one’s throat. Some competitors also wriggle their bodies to help get the food down faster. Anyone who regurgitates is disqualified.