Devon “No Limits” Larratt: “I’m completely out of my depth, but I like to be scared.”

Devon “No Limits” Larratt has certainly proven he lives up to his name. As holder of the Legacy Hammer, the 46-year-old is currently deemed the world’s best arm wrestler and only considers a challenge worthy of one’s efforts when it poses a real threat to life.


Cue what Devon defines as the ‘opportunity to grow as a human being’. The phone call inviting him to fill Eddie Hall’s boxing boots when injury put the brakes on his fight against The Mountain, Thor Bjornsson on September 18th.


Having never set foot in a professional boxing ring in his life, the proposition suited Devon perfectly. Less than five weeks to make the transition from arm wars athlete to king of the ring; why not?!
 
“I was so excited about the match,” says Devon. Having just settled into his temporary Dubai residence, the former Canadian Special Forces soldier is just a few days out from one of the most high-profile boxing matches in history. “I’ve been following Thor and Eddie as strongmen for years and when I found they were going to be boxing, I was like, ‘this is incredible, I need ringside tickets.’ As things turned out, I bypassed the front row and earned myself full entry to the ring. What have I gotten myself into?!”


“I’ve been following Thor and Eddie as strongmen for years and when I found they were going to be boxing, I was like, ‘this is incredible, I need ringside tickets.’ As things turned out, I bypassed the front row and earned myself full entry to the ring. What have I gotten myself into?!”

“When Eddie got injured, I was gutted for him and obviously I wanted to watch the fight so badly. I thought it was such a cool idea to have guys who are good in their chosen fields come together in a completely new sport. I didn’t want the Core Sports adventure to be ruined, so I threw my name into the hat. I like to put myself in situations where I’m a little bit afraid. Maybe ask my psychologist why I do these things, but I find they lead to a lot of growth.”

Training for a new sport against a former World’s Strongest Man doesn’t appear to rock Devon’s boat.
“I see this as an opportunity to expose myself to a really new challenge and change the way I see the world,” he says. “I’ve been very focused on arm wrestling for more than 25 years. I’m a big fan of Thor, so I don’t mind getting beaten up.”

 “I’m a big fan of Thor, so I don’t mind getting beaten up.”

“I thought this will be an opportunity for me to balance my energy a little bit. It’ll be a nice reset and when it’s done, I’ll have this great experience and this new perspective.”

Having set-off with a huge eighteen-month handicap, Devon has drastically switched up his training in a bid to make up some ground against his opponent.

“Thor has been training for 18 months and I’ve got less than five weeks, so it’s been a real shock to the system,” he says. “When I train for arm wrestling, I basically only train the movements and motions for arm wrestling. Arm wrestling is all about being tight and locked up and static. If you can be strong for between five and twenty seconds, you’re probably pretty good. Boxing is the opposite because it pays to be loose and have fluidity in your movements.”

“Arm wrestling is all about being tight and locked up and static. If you can be strong for between five and twenty seconds, you’re probably pretty good. Boxing is the opposite because it pays to be loose and have fluidity in your movements.”

“There’s a lot of cardio involved too, and usually I don’t do any! That said, when I was in my twenties, I practiced MMA a lot and I was a pretty good fighter. I feel things coming back to me already. It’s been a really healthy exercise for me, so that’s what I’m focusing on. Every day I feel better.”
 
When Muscle and Health spoke to Thor, he admitted he was entering the ring blind and had no idea whether Devon was even right- or left-handed. “I’m not really sure whether I’m a right- or left-handed fighter,” says Devon. “I really don’t know what’s going on. I’m punching, I’m moving, I’m trying to learn how to breathe and dance.”

“I’m not really sure whether I’m a right- or left-handed fighter,” says Devon. “I really don’t know what’s going on. I’m punching, I’m moving, I’m trying to learn how to breathe and dance.”


“I don’t think Thor has to worry about what kind of fighting style I have! I’ve got a great guy helping me, Zackaria BenBouchta- the dude is brilliant. I’m getting the best tutelage I could possibly get in a short amount of time. But as far as my style goes, I’m going to just try and be present in the fight and take advantages where possible, But, to be honest, I’m completely out of my depth. I’m completely out of my depth.

“To be honest, I’m completely out of my depth. I’m completely out of my depth.”

“My arms, my elbows, everything’s screaming at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ My nose, oh my God, my nose is killing me. But I’m just happy about it. I think it’s really cool. How many people get to fight Thor? How many people?”

Devon admits the daredevil feat is partially owing to the fact he’s no longer adequately challenged by his own sport.
 
“As an athlete in my field, I feel devoid of progression,” he says. “My competitions are very calculated and orchestrated and I’ll know I’ll be competing for four or five months before the event. There’s a lot of structure. There’s a lot of monotonous, hard work that needs to be done. And I’ll arm wrestle my whole life. It’s something that I’ll do forever. But given the opportunity to take five weeks off and embark on an impossible physical challenge, I’m doing all I can to do my hero (Thor) justice in the ring. Yes, it gets me scared, but I like to be scared a little bit. It turns my life into a little bit of a horror story, so that’s fun.”

“Yes, it gets me scared, but I like to be scared a little bit. It turns my life into a little bit of a horror story, so that’s fun.”

“My whole life, I was a military guy, so running and fighting was a normal thing. I’ve been retired for five years now. I stopped fighting and I stopped running. I’ve realized I can never let that happen again. From this point forward, I’ll continue to do my very best in the arm wrestling world, but I want to make sure that I can always run and that I can always fight from now on. My middle son takes Brazilian jujitsu. I’ll most likely start going to class with him when I get back home.”
 
Devon’s training regime has been given the ultimate shake-up.
 
“Right away, I had a massive cardio deficiency,” he says. “My body’s geared for arm wrestling and the oxidative requirement is basically zero, so I’m doing cardio every day. I’m also doing a lot of sparring and boxing drills. For the last ten days or so, I’ve been sparring almost every day. I’ve had a couple of days off here and there, but my nose has taken a beating. I swear, that’s the thing that’s bugging me the most right now. But learning how to box, learning how to move is fun. Zack and I are working on boxing basics, footwork, how to move, combinations, what to watch for, and cardio.
 
“Soon I’ll start to taper a little bit, so that come fight night I can be in the best shape possible, although a taper would usually start six weeks out rather than seven days. I had fewer than six weeks total prep time so everything’s super condensed.”
 
Competing against a man who’s cut back his daily calorie intake by almost 75% would usually dictate a strict dietary regime. But not for Devon.
 
“I really let myself go the last few months,” he says. I was at Tristar in Montreal, which is probably the most notable fighting gym in Canada. The coach advised me to cut down on animal products and consume a high carb diet. So that’s what I tried to do. My protein and fat intake went down, and I felt good. But as soon as I left Canada, I found myself cheating once, cheating twice. And now I’m here in Dubai and there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast, lunch, and supper and I can’t help myself. I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon, but the food’s really good here.”

“But as soon as I left Canada, I found myself cheating once, cheating twice. And now I’m here in Dubai and there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast, lunch, and supper and I can’t help myself. I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon, but the food’s really good here.”

You can’t help but love this guy! Just a few days out from fighting Thor and he’s destroying the all-you-can-eat buffet.
 

“I just have to do it,” says Devon. “There are some things that are really important to me, and food is one of them. I feel like I’m very motivated by food. It can be used against me very easily. And if it’s in front of me, I just can’t say no. I just can’t. It’s just I can’t, can’t do it.”

Thor carries a five-inch height advantage over Devon and boasts a superior reach.

“Thor really is a gigantic dude,” says Devon. “Usually, when guys reach the high sixes and they’re heavyweight, they start to move really weird and look really awkward. I’ve known Thor for years and he always moved quite well, even when he was at his biggest. Just now he’s moving very well. He’s a huge athlete and he’s just starting his boxing career. There’s a lot to worry about. I like it. Above all, I hope I’m a worthy opponent for him. I hope it’s a good fight. I’m excited.”

 “Above all, I hope I’m a worthy opponent for him. I hope it’s a good fight. I’m excited.”

Devon says losing is healthy and that he seeks it out.
 
“When I’ve months to prep my mind for an arm-wrestling match, I try to focus on my opponent losing,” he says. “I try to break my opponents down mentally and I start to try engaging with them. This case is very different. I’m in a very different position for this fight mentally. I’m going to have to get my mind to a state where I’m okay with a bad result. Once I’ve reached that point, I’ll just go and try and do my very, very best.
 
“There have been many times I’ve been like, ‘Devon, what are you doing? You’re going to go and fight a guy who’s younger, bigger, more trained, less disabled.’ But at the same time, I’m okay with it. In fact, I’ve found in my life that most of my very best periods have come after a period of loss. I have no problems with losing.”

“In fact, I’ve found in my life that most of my very best periods have come after a period of loss. I have no problems with losing” 

I seek it out. I think it’s a very healthy thing to do. But don’t think that I’m not trying my best to not lose. I just know that losing is an essential part of winning. The two things go together and there’s an essential balance in a person’s life. If you win all the time, you will eventually lose. You absolutely will. And if you lose a lot, but keep on getting back on the horse, you will eventually win. So, I don’t mind a mission impossible from time-to-time.”

“If you win all the time, you will eventually lose. You absolutely will. And if you lose a lot, but keep on getting back on the horse, you will eventually win. So, I don’t mind a mission impossible from time-to-time.”

“My wife is coming to Dubai in a couple of days. She’s like, ‘How drunk am I allowed to be before the fight?’”

We’ve been together since high school, so she’s seen all the crazy stuff that I’ve done and this on the scale is not that bad. This is something that dictates I’m probably not going to die, probably not.

“By the time that bell rings, I’ll be ready to fight, and I’ll give Thor everything that I have.”

Instagram: @devlarratt
  
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