IFBB Update: Darrem Dazzles, Flex's Future and more...
Rome Report: "Darrem Charles in the center, Marcus Ruhl on one side, Dexter Jackson on the other."
Those were the words of the head-judge as pre-judging commenced at the inaugural IFBB Maximus Pro Invitational held in Rome this past weekend. The initial callout was a wake-up call for both Dexter and Marcus who entered the event as co-favorites. Apparently, the European judging panel was less enamored by Ruhl's freakish proportions. The callout also served notice to bodybuilding fans that Darrem has taken his physique to an entirely new level. Darrem has added nearly 10 quality lbs to his chiseled frame and his improvements have pushed him to elite status among the pro ranks. Marcus finished 2nd just ahead of Dexter. Claude Groulx became the 17th man to qualify for the 2003 Olympia by virtue of his 4th place finish. Troy Alves rounded out the top 5. The win was Darrem's 2nd pro victory.
In Other News...
Flex's Future: Several reports have confirmed that Flex Wheeler's competitive days may be behind him. Apparently, health concerns have prompted the IFBB to revoke Flex's pro card, thus making him ineligible for future contests. Flex was forced to withdraw from recent shows, including the Arnold Classic, to attend to a lingering medical condition. We will continue to follow this story.
Up next on the pro bodybuilding schedule is the Toronto Pro on May 24th. The show is now under the direction of promoter Winston Roberts who announced that Art Atwood will be back to defend his title. Atwood was victorious in his pro debut at last years event. The Toronto Pro is no longer promoted by Nimrod King, who failed to meet his prize money obligations following last year's show.
Quote Me: (While in Columbus for the Arnold Classic) Darrem Charles and I were walking out of the hotel on Sunday morning. Marcus Ruhl, who was standing outside, asked Darrem if he was planning to compete at the show in Rome. Darrem responded, "Yeah, I'll be there". Marcus than replied, "Good... than I'll get to beat you again!" Both gentlemen smiled. But in the end, Darrem enjoyed the last laugh.
The Top 20: A new IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Ranking System has been announced. A panel of 15 bodybuilding insiders has been assembled in order to establish a true ranking system. This will work the same way as the popular college football or college basketball polls that are administered by the Associated Press. The panel of voters will include writers, promoters, photographers, industry executives, athletes etcâ€¦ This poll will not reflect just one opinion, instead it will represent the entire panels collective opinion. The first rankings will be released on Friday, April 4th at www.ProMuscleOnline.com and then here on Bodybuilding.com.
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