Battle Of The Veterans: IFBB PBW Tampa Pro Show Open Class And 202-Pound Division Previews!

The 2010 IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly (PBW) Championships - held in Tampa Florida July 16-17 - will once again showcase pro bodybuilding’s top talent while featuring a steady stream of up and coming champions!

Article Summary:
  • The list of competitors for the 2010 Tampa Pro is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
  • It would be hard to bet against Hidetada Yamagishi taking the top position.
  • If Jose Raymond can bring the same conditioning he shouldn't have trouble winning.

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2010 IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

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The 2010 IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Weekly (PBW) Championships - held in Tampa, Florida July 16-17 - will once again showcase pro bodybuilding's top talent while featuring a steady stream of up and coming champions, all vying to beat their personal best performances to qualify for the Mr. Olympia later this year and to, of course, claim the PBW title itself.

With both open and 202-pound classes battling it out there will be enough muscle on display to keep all who attend happy. However, for long-standing fans there will be an extra incentive to make up crowd numbers as the contests are, based on current competitors' lists, shaping to be battles between many of the sport's veterans. With Johnnie Jackson, Darrem Charles, Troy Alves, Paco Bautista and Hidetada Yamagishi comprising the likely open class contenders and Tricky Jackson, Daryl Stafford and Sean Paul Jenkins listed in the 202-pound-division it is guaranteed that plenty of muscle maturity will be on display.

This is to take nothing away from the hungry lions that will be nipping at their heels: Brandon Curry (a favorite to take the open class) the ever-improving Michael Liberatore and 202-Pound frontrunners Jose Raymond and Steve Namat will aim to prove their standing as future pro bodybuilding greats.

With as many great competitors as will be contesting the PBW champs it is, this year, extra hard to pick a winner. While in previous contests there has been at least one standout champ, this time the field appears to be more equally matched, making this year's Tampa Pro a classic case of whoever comes in shape with enough balance and size will likely win the show. Here is how I see the final standings.

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PBW Open Division Top Six
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Sixth Place: Johnnie Jackson
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With a victory at the 2007 Atlantic City Pro being his only pro win in a career where most of his placements have fallen outside of the top six, Johnnie Jackson, though possessing some of pro bodybuilding's most impressive upper body development, has struggled to consistently place high, especially in the larger shows. However, in recent years, and as with many of his peers who have reached their 40th year, his overall balance has improved to where he is beginning to make some serious waves.

In his last competitive outing - the 2010 New York Pro, where he placed eighth - his phenomenal back development appeared to be better than ever and his biggest weakness - his calf development -seemed even to have improved. It will be interesting to see what kind of package the power-lifting champ will bring to Tampa. Should he nail his conditioning sixth, or better, is highly likely.

johnnie jackson At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Johnnie Jackson At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Fifth Place: Costantinos Demetriou
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I have predicted fifth place for the Australian Con Demetriou in this review based on the experience factor his closest competition have, though this is not to say that he will fall outside the top four in Tampa, Florida. With some of the best aesthetics seen in the pro game for a long time combined with a new found ability to peak to perfection - as shown to good effect with his recent Europa Show of Champions fourth placement - Con is one to watch in all future pro events he contests.

With ample mass, which does not overpower his shape and structure, the Aussie, a competitive pro for only four years, has time on his side. Once he puts it all together, he will be tough to beat. And that, based on what he champ told me recently, is exactly what he plans to do for the PBW show: present his best ever conditioning along with full muscle development. Should he meet these objectives he will, at worst, land in fifth, at best, make the top three.

Con Demetriou At The 2008 Australia Pro Grand Prix VIII.
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Con Demetriou At The 2008 Australia Pro Grand Prix VIII.
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Fourth Place: Darrem Charles
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With a professional history dating back to 1992, 1991 IFBB World Amateur Light Heavyweight champion Darrem Charles is one of pro bodybuilding's longest competing athletes. Bucking the mass over aesthetics trend, he is also one of its most successful with 10 pro wins along with scores of top three placements.

With some of the best biceps (both leg and arm) development ever seen in the pro bodybuilding ranks, and an ability to achieve razor sharp conditioning for the majority of his competitive appearances, Darrem has shown he can compete with the best, and win. His only weakness being his thigh development - lacking compared with almost every other pro he stands alongside - this fact speaks to how balanced the rest of his physique is.

Competing larger than ever but uncharacteristically off form in his last show - the 2009 Sacramento Pro, where he placed eighth - Darrem will be aiming to reclaim his position at the top of the smaller show ladder at the PBW champs. Look for him to seriously challenge Troy Alves for third, but ultimately take fourth.

Darrem Charles At The 2009 Olympia.
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Darrem Charles At The 2009 Olympia.
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Third Place: Troy Alves
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Having contested the IFBB professional ranks every year since 2003 - where he debuted at the now-defunct Ironman Pro with an impressive fourth place finish - the 43-year-old Troy Alves is not short on competition experience.

With a professional record boasting many top six placements, including a win at the 2009 Europa Show of Champions and fifth place at this year's Phoenix Pro, Alves has proven to be one of the most consistent professionals around; his shape and conditioning are always a pleasure to witness and with the size improvements he has made over recent years he is now considered a top contender for any pro show he enters. Should he bring to Tampa the shape he is known for along with his best ever conditioning, he will likely make top three.

Troy Alves At The 2009 Atlantic City Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships.
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Troy Alves At The 2009 Atlantic City Bodybuilding, Fitness & Figure Championships.
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Second Place: Brandon Curry
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Bodybuilding has a new prodigy in Brandon Curry and - though yet to be tested in the pro ranks - he will make it extremely hard for anyone wishing to edge him out in his pro debut at the 2010 PBW Championships. With full muscle bellies and not a physical flaw to be seen, the Heavyweight and Overall 2008 NPC USA Championships winner will - at least if the hype combined with recent photos of the champ are anything to go by - make a Phil Heath-like beginning to his pro career with several smaller show wins, before breaking into the big time with Arnold and Olympia success.

The only question at this point in his pro evolution is, can he bring the extreme conditioning needed to beat the best? If he can enter the Tampa show peeled with further improvements in muscle size he will be tough to beat. It will be close between him and Hidetada Yamagishi, though the Japanese champ will have the necessary peaking experience and a finely honed competitive mindset intent on winning. A battle not to be missed.

Brandon Curry At The 2008 USA Bodybuilding & Figure Championships.
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Brandon Curry At The 2008 USA Bodybuilding & Figure Championships.
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First Place: Hidetada Yamagishi
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One of the smaller IFBB pros currently competing, Hidetada Yamagishi's size has not been a barrier to competitive success. Far from it: in a stellar 2009 he placed second in both the Europa Show of Champions and Atlantic City champs before placing top ten at the Olympia later that year. In 2010 he went one better by winning the Europa Pro with added muscle size and previously unseen sharpness.

It would be fair to say that Hidetada is now an established top tier pro bodybuilder and a veritable threat to the final standings in any field he contests. A favorite for top honors at the 2010 PBW champs he will be doing his best to claim his second pro win. Though his competition is very good, and he will be pushed hard, it would be hard to bet against him winning the show based on his competitive experience and ability to dial it in.

Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
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Hidetada Yamagishi At The 2010 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
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202-Pound Division Top Six
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Sixth Place: Sean-Paul Jenkins
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Making his bodybuilding comeback at the 2010 New York Pro with an impressive career-best fifth place finish in the 202-pound category was Sean-Paul Jenkins, proving that in pro bodybuilding age is but a number and constant improvements can be made for however long one has the motivation and fortitude to do so.

Turning pro in 1985 and competing in '86, '87, '88 and '96, attaining his highest placement - ninth - at the 1988 Niagara Falls Pro, Jenkins has had, at best, a sketchy pro career. However, approaching his 50th year he now finds himself at the top of his game and has added some serious size to his formerly lean and mean physique. If he brings the level of conditioning he did to the 2010 New York Pro stage he should have no problem placing at least sixth in Tampa.

Sean-Paul Jenkins At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Sean-Paul Jenkins At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Fifth Place: Frederic Sauvage
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In seeing Frederic Sauvage on stage for the first time it is hard to believe he is one of the lighter pro competitors around. With thick muscle cloaking every inch of his physique, it is mystifying as to how he manages to get his weight down to 202 to contest these events. In 2009, Frederick represented himself well in the open pro men's classes - at the Europa, Sacramento and Atlantic City shows - placing a respectable fifth among a top line Europa field.

Now gunning for 202-pound glory at the PBW champs he will most certainly stand out in the line up by virtue of his extreme size (complete with some of the thickest chest and back development in any division). His conditioning and shape is also among the best. Look for Frederic to make his mark in Tampa.

Frederic Sauvage At The 2009 Sacramento.
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Frederic Sauvage At The 2009 Sacramento.
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Fourth Place: Clarence Devis
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Comparable in overall size and thickness to Frederic Sauvage and several other top-line under 202 pound competitors, Clarence Devis (who reaches an impressive 280 pounds in the off-season) also possesses a remarkable level of symmetry and proportion along with a highly polished, razor sharp physique.

In placing third at the 2009 Atlantic City Pro - bested only by the formidable Flex Lewis and future owner of the division Jose Raymond - Clarence beat out eighteen other names, signaling his arrival as a future 202-pound force to be reckoned with. His stage presence and posing abilities are also polished and up there with the sport's best. Should he bring further improvements in calf development and an extra touch of crispness to his overall conditioning, he will be hard to deny at the 2010 PBW Championships.

Clarence Devis At The 2009 Olympia.
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Clarence Devis At The 2009 Olympia.
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Third Place: Tricky Jackson
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Given the quality of his physique - balanced from head to toe and supremely conditioned when he is on - his posing and presentation abilities, and the constant improvements he makes year after year, it is hard to deny Tricky winner status in any 202-pound event he enters. However, when the final names are called and the final comparisons are made he usually falls slightly behind, save for the 2009 Europa Super Show where he pulled it all together to take the 202-pound title, which qualified him for that year's Olympia in which he placed a respectable seventh.

At the 2009 Tampa Pro he finished fifth, larger than he has ever been, but slightly off form. At other times it appears he has the whole event sewn up, but instead does not make the cut. This is not due to any weaknesses on his part; it is more to do with standout features possessed by his closest competition: Tricky's biggest asset may, in fact, be somewhat of a curse. Since he is almost perfectly balanced and has no overpowering body parts he is often overlooked while others with perhaps more mass in certain areas receive the nod.

More overall size is what he has needed to break this trend, and this is exactly what he has sought: he tells me he will enter this year's Tampa Pro larger than in previous years and that could make all the difference. Look for Tricky to make top three or, if all goes especially well for him, win the event.

Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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Ricky Tricky Jackson At The 2009 Olympia.
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Second Place: Steve Namat
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Hungary's Steve Namat has proven that from seemingly little potential can arise great bodybuilding progress, as attested by the constant improvements he has made since he competed in his first pro show, the 2007 Montreal Pro Classic, and, especially, the development he displayed when starting out as a skinny teenager in 1999.

Still only 26 and with a physique that can only be described as visually stunning from a symmetry and proportion standpoint, he has added necessary muscle mass to catapult himself into frontrunner status for this year's PBW championships 202-pound category, a contest in which he placed fifth in 2009, narrowly edging out Tricky Jackson and losing the title to some guy called David Henry. With his classic shape, perfect posing skills and top-to-bottom muscular development look for Steve to be at his best in Tampa.

Steve Namat At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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Steve Namat At The 2009 Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships.
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First Place: Jose Raymond
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A confirmed major player in the IFBB 202-pound category, Jose Raymond - who turned pro with a Middleweight win at the 2007 NPC National Championships - has been placing near the top of the 202 ladder since he began contesting this event in 2009. Since turning pro, Jose has added a remarkable degree of size without negating the pleasing shape for which he is known. This has only spelled disaster for his competition, which now regards him as one of the men to beat in any show he enters. Certainly he is a hot favorite to win in Tampa.

At the New York Pro earlier this year he brought his best package ever to narrowly miss top honors, which were taken by a career-best Kevin English (himself, along with Jose and David Henry, one of the top three 202 pound men around and current Mr. Olympia champion). If he can bring the same shocking conditioning and size he presented in New York to Tampa he should have no trouble winning the show.

Jose Raymond At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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Jose Raymond At The 2010 New York Pro Bodybuilding & Bikini Championships.
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