World Matchplay darts debutant Lukeman given strict orders not to whip out belly

World Matchplay debutant Martin Lukeman has been given strict instructions not to whip his belly out while on stage during the tournament.

Lukeman, whose walk-on music is the ska hit ‘Lip Up Fatty’, has been known to lift up his shirt and bare his midriff to fans ahead of matches. Earlier this year, it went down particularly well with fans at the German Grand Prix.

Speaking at the time, he said: “I’m not going to do it all the time but I may think about doing it now and again. I’ve done it on county stages, a few little tournaments, stuff like that. I don’t know, it just happens. I didn’t plan to do it but I had a load of the German boys bigging me up.”

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But there will be none of that when the Winter Gardens hosts darts’ second-biggest tournament of the year, unless perhaps he reaches the final. The order not to bare flesh hasn’t come from PDC officials, but from Lukeman’s wife.

“I’m under strict orders from the wife not to,” he laughed during an interview with Daily Star Sport. “[But] If I get to the final I might have to get my fat out.”

Getting to the final will be a tall order for the tournament outsider, who meets major winner James Wade in the first round on Sunday. Michael van Gerwen, Luke Humphries and Joe Cullen are in the same part of the draw. Whatever happens, the 37-year-old is determined to enjoy the experience.

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“I’m feeling confident, I’m up for it,” he said. “I’ve gained a lot of experience on the Euro Tour. I’m well excited.

“I was over the moon [to qualify]. It’s the second biggest competition of the year after the World Championship. I’m feeling good.”

Defending champion Peter Wright headlines the opening night of action on Saturday when he takes on Madars Razma while Jonny Clayton goes up against Rowby-John Rodriguez.


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