2007 Iron Man Pro Preview - The Top Five.

This year’s Iron Man Pro is loaded and wide open with many new faces and no Lee Priest. Anyone is capable of coming in and qualifying for the Olympia. Who will it be? My top five and potential spoilers follow.

The first pro show of the 2007 season will kick off with the usual assortment of quality competitors in addition to its regular entertainment fixtures including the press conference, weigh-in, and meet the athletes event it has become famous for and a massive expo where fans can meet various bodybuilding stars and peruse the massive range of goods.

Of course the Iron Man Pro's main drawcard, the athletes, who all would like to position themselves strongly early in the season, will once again take to the stage determined to make a favourable impression. Another strong field will again make the judging process hard, but there are certain notables who will, should they bring the right conditioning, take their rightful positions near the top.

With this year's top five qualifying for an Olympia spot, the pressure is really on for several guys who would typically place out of top three at any given pro show, while three or four athletes will be assured a place at bodybuilding's biggest event based on their dominance over recent years.

That being said, the top five should include Toney Freeman, Mark Dugdale, David Henry, Silvio Samuel and Ahmad Haidar. Should any of these men come in completely off, the door will be open for Sergey Shelestov, Eryk Bui, Kris Dim, Luke Wood and strong newcomer, 2006 NPC USA winner Omar Deckard.

However, there are few athletes who could surprise if they enter this show with improvements in size and conditioning. Roc Shabazz and Rusty Jeffers are two such men who could, with a little improvement, do some serious damage in this show. My top five and potential spoilers follow.

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Top Five


First Place: Toney Freeman:

    With the current professional bodybuilding trend for massive size, who could deny a man who combines this quality, with great shape and condition, top honours at this year's Iron Man pro?

Iron Man Iron Man
Iron Man Iron Man Iron Man
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Toney Freeman At The 2006 Iron Man.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.

    Coming off a strong seventh place showing at the 2006 Mr. Olympia, his first appearance at this contest, and his first pro win at the Europa Pro Show months earlier, the 6'2", near 300 pound Toney Freeman is hot bodybuilding property right now as he looks to cement his spot as the man to beat in whichever show he enters.


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Toney Freeman At His First Olympia.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.

    With a small waist, wide shoulders and one of the largest physiques onstage today, Tony should win this show. However, he will be pushed hard by one of the smallest men in the show, David Henry, who could easily switch places with Toney should the big man come in uncharacteristically off.

Toney's 2006 Europa Routine.
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Second Place: David Henry:

    He says he is bigger and better than he has ever been and recent photos show him to be vastly improved compared to last year, but can David Henry topple a man who absolutely dwarfs him? From a top-to-bottom-excellence standpoint, David could have the edge over Toney, but Freeman is no slouch in the areas of symmetry and proportion either and he certainly has the greater size of the two.



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David Henry At The 2006 Iron Man.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.

    David will, however, want to redeem himself after last year's less than stellar Olympia showing and should he re-capture the shape he presented at the 2006 Iron Man, where he placed second to Lee Priest, and missed out on the winners trophy by only one point, his first pro win could be only weeks away.

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Third Place: Mark Dugdale:

    A man whose physique is commended by none other than the great Olympia champion, Dorian Yates, the well-balanced Mark Dugdale says he will aim to qualify for the Olympia at this year's Iron Man. He should do a little better than that given the consistent improvements he has made since his 2004 USA light heavyweight and overall wins.


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Mark Dugdale.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.

    Mark could place as high as third if he displays his usual razor-sharp conditioning and brings the size he says he has added to his near-perfect physique since last year's event, where he placed a respectable fifth.

    Mark has said that he will not compare himself to any of his fellow competitors, but will only look to control what is within his power to change, his own physique. On February 17, we will see how Mark stacks up. Very favourably I predict.

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Fourth Place: Silvio Samuel:

    Here is a guy who has all the potential in the world, but has made a few rookie mistakes in the past that may have cost him several spots.

Silvio Silvio
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Silvio Samuel At The 2006 Europa.
View More Pics From The 2006 Europa Here.

    Based on the great shape and size he possesses, and the impact he made at the 2006 Europa Pro show, where he placed sixth, and the fourth place finish he received at the Spanish Grand Prix he should make life hard for most of his competition at the Iron Man. If he can get everything right, look for Silvio to qualify for his first Olympia appearance in three weeks.


Fifth Place: Ahmed Haidar:

    Over recent years, Ahmed "lines of Lebanon" Haidar, had, up until 2006, routinely placed near the top at early shows to easily qualify for the Olympia. Last year, however, he seemed to have lost some of his form, placing ninth at the Iron Man and sixth at the San Francisco Pro.


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Ahmad Haidar.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.

    He took the remainder of the year off. Such was his amazing shape and spectacular abs many were hailing him as one of the most aesthetically pleasing men to hit the scene for some time. After taking the latter part of 2006 off - for family commitments and presumably to develop an even better physique - Ahmad is back, ready to grind away at the mass monsters like before. Look for him to place fifth at the very least.


Potential Top Five Athletes


Sergey Shelestov:

    Sergey has not really been tested by the bodybuilding elite, save for his Romanian Grand Prix outing in 2006 where he placed third to Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman.

    The remainder of the field did not come close to the company he will keep at the 2006 Iron Man. But Sergey did bring a very impressive physique with massive size and legs right up there with the best. It will be interesting to see where he lands at the Iron Man, but if he has made some improvements from last year it should not be too far from the top for the big Russian.

Sergey
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Sergey Shelestov.


Eryk Bui:

    Although he placed eighth at this show last year, many felt Eryk could have moved up a little higher. With a compact physique loaded with muscle and a pleasing shape, Eryk could spoil things for several notables.


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Eryk Bui.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.

    Coming off a disastrous 2006 San Francisco showing, where he placed out of the top ten, Eryk will want redemption and to establish a good position in the rankings early in 2007. Expect him to deliver.


Kris Dim:

    Another who had a mediocre 2006, Kris will want to make this his year, and with a good placing at the Iron Man he can reclaim his status as one of bodybuilding's more popular up and comers. Known for his huge arm development and good V-taper, complete with chiselled abs, Kris, should he come in shape, could make the Olympia on his first 2007 attempt.


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Kris Dim.
View More Pics From The 2006 Iron Man Here.


Luke Wood:

    The massive Australian has proven very popular over recent years and he will definitely be one of the larger competitors come February 17. However, he has yet to live up to his potential and this has cost him when it comes to the final placing's.

    Luke has gathered quite a following and his fans will be hoping for a more refined package with the usual mass - judging by pics he has released, they should be happy with what he brings.

Luke Wood
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Luke Wood.


Omar Deckard:

    Fresh off his Nationals win, Omar is a rookie many are picking to really do some damage. Slighted for comparatively weak leg development, if he can fix this concern he should have no problem making he top ten.

Omar Deckard
Omar Deckard Wallpaper
Winner, 2006 NPC USA Overall.
Photo by SecondFocus.
Week #21 - 8/01/2006
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    The six-foot, 250 plus pounder will be one of the largest competitors in, at this stage, and with the exception of a few, a field of what could be considered smaller pros. At the very least Omar will stand out through sheer size.


Roc Shabazz:

    For this show, Roc says he will come in sharper with an additional eight to 10 pounds more muscle compared to last year. With massive legs and back, especially from the rear where he displays amazing thickness, Roc, at 5.5, might pose a legitimate threat. If he brings the improvements he promises to display, look for him to at least make the top ten.


Rusty Jeffers:

    Rusty is a competitor who poses very gracefully and meets all standards for shape and symmetry. Overall size has let him down in the past, and he has been on the end of a few questionable decisions, but this year could be his time to shine.

Rusty Rusty
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Rusty Jeffers.

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    Look for him to stand out in the areas of v-taper and overall shape. With a few more pounds of size he might even capture a top six spot.

RELATED POLL
Who Will Win The 2007 Iron Man?

Toney Freeman.
David Henry.
Mark Dugdale.
Silvio Samuel.
Ahmed Haidar.
Sergey Shelestov.
Eryk Bui.
Kris Dim.
Omar Deckard.
Other.