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World Champion Joe Warren among those endorsing Real Pro Wrestling

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Real Pro Wrestling is designed to combine all the elements of the sport - freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle - into one style on the mat.

But with the leg attacks that are so prevalent in RPW, the freestylers enjoy a fairly clear advantage over their Greco-Roman counterparts.

But that doesn't matter to Joe Warren.

The reigning World Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling at 60 kg/132 pounds thrived with the mantra "I'm the baddest man on the planet" in last month's World Championships in Guangzhou, China.

Warren plans on living up to those words again when he competes in Season Two of RPW next spring. Warren lost to Zach Roberson last year in the semifinals of Season One.

"Taking part in the first season of Real Pro Wrestling was a very unique experience and it was the first time I had wrestled that style," Warren said. "A lot of people got to train for it, but our Greco coaches didn't let us train for it. This year, I am going to make sure I am ready for this and ready to win. I'm very excited about Real Pro Wrestling. It's an exciting style of wrestling that I enjoy doing. I will support RPW any way that I can."

Warren, Olympic Silver Medalist Stephen Abas and World Bronze Medalist Lindsey Durlacher conducted a clinic for youth wrestlers on Saturday afternoon between sessions of the RPW Western Regional Qualifier at the San Jose Convention Center.

The outgoing, outspoken Warren also delivered a little message for the other competitors who might be in his weight class for Season Two.

"I'm not wrestling in Real Pro Wrestling if I don't win," Warren said, flashing a smile. "For you freestylers out there, you better be ready."

Durlacher also took part in the first season of RPW last year, falling to Mike Mena in the first round. Durlacher competes at 55 kg/121 pounds in Greco-Roman.

"This is a fun way for a lot of us to showcase our skills and our wrestling abilities to the American public," Durlacher said. "It's a lot of fun, but at the same time it's serious competition because you still want to do your best and you still want to win."

Having wrestlers attack your legs is an adjustment for guys like Durlacher, who wrestle the Greco-Roman style where all the wrestling is done above the waist.

"The problem us Greco guys run into is these guys clinging onto our legs," Durlacher said. "It's a difficult sport for us because the style is so much different for us, but we still have fun with it and use it as a cross-training tool where you use different muscles and stances than what you normally use."

Warren and Durlacher, resident athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, are among a number of top wrestlers slated to compete in Season Two of Real Pro Wrestling next spring. RPW is holding four Regional Qualifiers and a Super Regional to determine spots for competition next spring.

A chance to make some prize money and the opportunity to gain some television exposure also are among the appealing parts of Real Pro Wrestling. RPW's first season was shown on Fox Sports Net and PAX last year.

"Financially, nothing is great in the sport of wrestling and every little bit helps," Durlacher said. "Having an opportunity to make a little extra money definitely is a nice incentive for us. And being on television, that's great exposure for us and for the sport. It gives people more of an idea of what we do and how we approach being a wrestler."

Durlacher said he enjoyed being a part of the event Saturday in San Jose.

"We're out here to help Real Pro Wrestling jump-start their season and help them out in any way we can," he said. "I believe in what they're doing and I want to support this league."

The field of approximately 30 competitors at Saturday's Western Regional Qualifier included an abundance of past NCAA All-Americans in a quality field.

"We had six or seven people withdraw at the last minute, but we're definitely not short on quality in this event," said Matt Case, president of Real Pro Wrestling. "This is a chance and an opportunity for some of these guys to qualify and learn about our events. It gives a lot of these athletes an opportunity to get involved with RPW. I'm real impressed with the quality of the wrestlers we have here."

The RPW matches featured numerous bouts that were high-scoring.

"The wrestlers aren't afraid to go for some of these big moves," Case said. "They're out here having fun and putting on a really good show. We're trying to give the wrestlers in our sport more exposure - that's a lot of what Real Pro Wrestling is all about."
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