Former Hot Dog Eating Champ Ready to Regain His Crown July 4

The six-time-champion of the legendary July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest wants his crown back. But the man who took it from him won't give it up without a fight.

Takeru Kobayashi of Japan smashed the world record in 2001 and was unbeatable for more than half a decade until America's Joey Chestnut became the new king of all tube steaks at Coney Island last year.

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Chestnut inhaled a world-record 66 hot dogs — including the buns — in 12 minutes at the annual contest at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island, N.Y. The San Jose, Calif., man won the coveted Mustard Belt and waddled off with the $10,000 grand prize.

Sixty-three hot dogs were all the vanquished Kobayashi could stomach.

Now the two are looking forward to a rematch — wiener-à-wiener at high noon Friday.

The competition, which dates back to 1916 and is a featured event on the International Federation of Competitive Eating circuit, has traditionally lasted 12 minutes, although there was a report out of Brooklyn last month that it will be reduced to 10 minutes this year.

The Major League Eating group had no official comment that the time would be changed.

About 20 serious eaters take their places behind a 40-foot-long table at the famed Brooklyn amusement park. And then the fun — and pain — begin.

The dogs are grilled and cooled slightly so no one gets burned. Condiments are optional. Drinks are permitted; most competitors choose water to wash the dogs down. Competitors are allowed to dunk the dogs and buns in their beverages to make them easier to swallow.

When time is up, any hot dog that's still in the mouth counts, provided it goes down and stays down.

A "reversal" — that's what they call it when you throw up — means immediate disqualification.

The winner is the one who eats, and keeps down, the most hot dogs and buns.

About 45,000 spectators attended the 2007 competition, with about 1.5 million watching on ESPN.

While the men and women competing at Coney Island will be the hardest of the hard-core hot-dog eaters, they won't be alone.

About 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

Aside from indulging on the Fourth, Americans eat the bulk of their dogs during the summer: The council says about 7 billion franks are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.