'Black Widow' set to take on women in contest

Sun, Jul 3
Sonya ThomasAP Photo/Ed OuSonya Thomas is competing in the women's division of the contest on Monday.

Sonya Thomas, who has been competing the past few years with the men in Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating contest, is the hands-down favorite in the new women's category this year on July 4.

"The other women don't stand a chance," said four-time men's champion Joey Chestnut, who is back in Coney Island to defend his title. "You know when she competed against us, a lot of the men were scared because she is better than most men."

The 43-year-old Thomas, nicknamed "the Black Widow", weighs about 105 pounds, is from South Korea and has been competing since 2003. She is ranked No. 5 overall and has won 29 world titles.

On Monday, she and nine other women will compete right before the men. Thomas set the world record by eating 41 hot dogs in 10 minutes in 2009.

"I'm bringing one of my T-shirts to give her for good luck. I hope she wears it," Chestnut said. "She won't need luck, though. She's that damn good."

Page 2 will be setting up the big battle on Monday, including Chestnut's views on past champ Takeru Kobayashi, this weekend, and ESPN3 will be streaming Monday's contest and have exclusive coverage of the inaugural women's championship.