Henry’s Dynamic Return

/ Posted 08.20.2012

David Henry was missing in action last year, but not by his choice. As a member of the Armed Forces, he received deployment papers and fulfilled his duty. David made his return to the stage a dynamic one in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend by dominating the 212 division at the Europa Super Show, and setting up another great battle with Kevin English in that category at the Olympia next month in Las Vegas.

In the main event, Shawn Rhoden made it two wins in a row, but Hidetada Yamagishi edged past Toney Freeman for the runner-up slot. The X-Man finished third, with Roelly Winklaar finishing in fourth and Ed Nunn in fifth. In judging how good Winklaar looked, needless to say it was a very good line-up. The question now, of course: can Rhoden become a top six guy at the Olympia? Certainly has one of the most pleasing physiques in the game today–as does Henry.

Filed Under: 212, Europa, IFBB
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Freeman, 45, Wins in Dallas

/ Posted 08.15.2011

It was a belated happy birthday weekend for Toney Freeman. The X-Man, who turned 45 at the end of July, got to celebrate two weeks later with his victory at the Europa Super Show in Dallas, Texas. It was the third time the 6’2", 275-pounder out of Atlanta, Georgia topped the field in this event; it also marked Freeman’s sixth victory in the pro ranks, including the 2007 IFBB IRON MAN PRO.

Although some people I talked to, including Shawn Ray, felt Ed Nunn should have been number one, the scorecard doesn’t agree: Freeman scored straight ones in his dominating triumph. Nunn finished second, with a best-ever Shawn Rhoden, who I thought looked great in pictures, landing in third. Mark Alvisi, one of the pre-contest faves, could only muster a fourth-place finish in Texas, with his longtime NPC battlemate, Mike Liberatore, rounding out the top five.

In the 202 division, Guy Cisterino took top honors, with Brazil’s Fernando Noronha finishing second. Tricky Jackson nabbed the third Olympia qualifying slot. Marvin Ward placed fourth, with Derik Farnsworth in fifth.

Filed Under: Contests, Europa
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Big Mac Chews up Europa

/ Posted 05.02.2011

Based on the photos, Cedric McMillan wasn’t close to being in top shape at the Europa Orlando over the weekend. Made no difference, though, as Big Mac coasted to the victory. Marcus Haley finished second, and Evgeny Mishin placed third as all three qualfied for the Mr. Olympia this September in Las Vegas. Michael Liberatore (4th) and Lee Banks (5th) rounded out the top five.

McMillan is also scheduled to compete at the New York Pro on May 28, and he will need to be much improved in that one if he hopes to battle for the crown. Kai Greene leads a strong list of competitors that will include Ronny Rockel, Roelly Winklaar (last year’s winner) USA champion Jason Huh and Brandon Curry, among others.

Make sure to check back for the NY Pro preview video on this site soon, which I did with Ron “Yogi” Avidan, and see if you agree with our picks.

Filed Under: Contests, Europa
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Remembering the King, “Unknown” Dominates Dallas

/ Posted 08.15.2010

Today is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. Yup, been 33 years since the King passed away at his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee. Please take a moment to acknowledge this special day. Am sure Elvis would say, “Thank you, thank you very much.”

However, just because my pick to win the Europa, Dallas– Cedric McMillan — was placed in fourth, don’t you dare think this marks the death of the Swami.

First off, I have to admit I didn’t take a close enough look at the entry sheet when I made my predictions last week. If I did, I might not have named Essa Obiad as the winner, but he would have definitely been a top three pick. Now, most people think Essa is an unknown, coming out of “no where” as Shawn Ray put it.

Hardly. I’ve emceed the Arnold Amateur since its inception a few years back, witnessing first hand the extraordinary quality of the winners who take the Main Expo Stage in Columbus, Ohio every March.

Need some samples? Okay, Tarek Elsetouchi won the Arnold Amateur in 2008. Roelly Winklaar took it in 2009. Dubai’s Obiad dominated the 2010 festivities. I predicted all three would have good pro careers, and predicted Winklaar and Obiad would be major players in the IFBB soon.

Tarek has done fairly well to date; Winklaar won the New York Pro in May after earning a disputed seventh place at his pro debut, the Arnold Classic. Roelly’s now, of course, a definite top 10 Mr. Olympia candidate in his rookie year. And you can add Obiad to that category as well after his dominating “upset” win (only because nobody other than yours truly knew he existed) in Texas.

On the topic of upsets, Mark Alvisi’s second place finish could be considered that, even though Isaac Hinds picked Alvisi to win in Dallas, and I had Alvisi right on the Mark in second. Come to think of it, I also forecasted Bill Wilmore’s third place finish (as did Hinds), so even though McMillan—at least from the photos I’ve seen—should have definitely a top three guy, in hindsight the Swami’s selections weren’t so shabby. Australia’s Mike Kefalianos—another one of those Arnold Amateur cats (and he only took THIRD in his class in 2008!) was, in perusing the photos on the various websites, the most conditioned guy on stage en route to a fifth place finish.

By the way, let’s reflect on my pre-contest blog a bit. As you know, the headline read “Yogi A Fool in His Pick of Ruhl?” To cut to the chase, YES.

Big Markus not only didn’t win the contest, he landed all the way down in seventh. One spot ahead of Grigori Atoyan, one slot ahead of Brandon Curry. The popular mass monster from Germany retired from the sport two years ago, then came back last season. Is it time for the 38-year-old to reconsider his decision? You tell me, Yogi, you were there, I wasn’t.

I did correctly pick Seth Feroce to win the 202 and under in his pro debut, but that wasn’t a hard call after seeing how sublime this cat looked in winning the Light-Heavyweight division at last season’s Nationals. Where, actually, I thought he gave Big Mac a run for his money for the Overall crown. Jaroslav Horvath finished second, Tricky Jackson third in the Europa 202.

Okay, time to listen to some classic tunes from the King. Hope you’re not lonesome tonight.

Filed Under: Contests, Europa, News
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