It's basically two people fighting over a stick. But Mas-wrestling is a pure measure of strength, and its popularity is growing worldwide. Paul Williams meets a Levin man travelling to Russia to represent New Zealand in Mas-wrestling.

Stephen Burnell paces the gym with his headphones on, but he's paying no attention to the music. He's talking to himself. There's a couple of other people there at 5.30am, but he's in his own world now.

He dips his hands in a bucket of chalk, claps them together, and heads over to where a 210kg barbell waits for him. He assaults his

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