Field crickets face off against one another in Beijing at the annual National Cricket Fighting Championships, carrying on a uniquely Chinese sport which dates back more than 1,000 years.
Man Zhiguo is checking in on his 70 prizefighters.
He’s been raising and fighting crickets for over 40 years and some of his most valuable insects are worth around $1,500 U.S. dollars apiece, which could get expensive, because crickets have a lifespan of about only 100 days.
“I raise crickets as a hobby because I admire their positive spirit. They never admit defeat, they have a fighting spirit. So we all like them.”
Not unlike boxers, these fighters are fed a high protein diet and are “trained” for competition.
And after the weigh-in it’s time for the first matches.
The insects take a bit of coaxing, but they’re soon locked in fierce battle. The tenacious fighters trade blows like boxers in a ring or gladiators in an arena.
Each team was allowed to have 35 crickets and after two days of battle, Man’s insects won all their bouts – not enough for his team to take the trophy, but certainly something to chirp about.
Horses, dogs and even chickens have been used in sport all over the world, but this is probably the first time that most people have heard of crickets taking each other on.