SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – With slapping being on many people’s minds this past week, one Springfieldian is competing to become the world’s best slapper.

On March 5th, Koa “Da Crazy Hawaiian” Viernes competed in the 2022 Arnold Classic Slap Fighting Championship, a new fighting promotion created by actor and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The 6’2″, 378 lb., competitor battled for the Super Heavyweight World Championship against Dawid “Zales” Zalewski.

Both fighters came into the fight with an undefeated record, but Viernes would be the competitor with the loss at the end of the night.

With a 90-day rest period, Viernes will be competing for the world title once again in a rematch against Zalewski.

“The rematch going to be lit. It’s going to be fun. I can’t wait,” said Viernes. The Hawaiian native is the first American to become a Super Heavyweight Slap-Fight Champion.

Viernes believes slap fighting is on the same path to success as the UFC. The sport is a huge sensation in Europe and may be able to reach a large audience in America.

Viernes started his slap fight career with the group, SlapFight, out of Branson. Racking up views on social media, and becoming a pioneer for the sport.

On stage, he is known as Da Crazy Hawaiian.

“It’s like it’s really like another person on the stage because I’m not really like that, you know, I don’t just go around slapping people. I’m a really nice guy,” said Viernes. “So I try to make a sport persona where the crazy Hawaiian gets turned off and on and it’s, it’s what people want to see.”

At home, his focus shifts to content creation, training with his fiancée and being a dad.

“I’ve always had the dream of being somewhat famous for something and always been on the back burner and I finally accomplished that,” said Viernes. “But now it’s all about my kids as much as I can give my kids back. And you know what? They can say their dad did something.”

A rematch date has not yet been released, but Viernes says it will be held in Miami.