David Robson’s 2007 Australian Pro Grand Prix Review

The 2007 Australian Pro Grand Prix was held on March 10th in Melbourne, Australia. This year’s contest did not match previous events for sheer star power, but it did highlight some great new talent. Dexter Jackson wins his first pro show of the year...

Down on numbers, this year’s Australian Pro did not match previous events for sheer star power, but it did highlight some great new talent. A few days out, expectations were high. Current high-flyer Toney Freeman was expected as was mass monsters Branch Warren and Mustafa Mohammed.

Despite these guys not being in the mix, the battle for second place was well contested with last years champion Ronnie Rockel and veteran Vince Taylor both in fine shape. The winner was quite clearly Dexter Jackson, who brought his characteristic near-perfect size and shape to win his first pro show of the year, having lost the Arnold Classic to Victor Martinez a week before.

The Top Five

Rather than a show highlighting the best of the best, the 2007 Australian Pro proved an ideal platform for several up-and-coming stars to show what they had. Emerging pros Martin Kjellstrom, Hidetada Yamagishi and Joel Stubbs all fought hard for fourth, fifth and sixth respectably, with England’s John Hodgson and Malaysia’s Wong Hong not too far behind in seventh and eighth.

With all the potential in the world, Australia’s big Luke Wood could not put it together and placed a dismal eighth.

-> First: Dexter Jackson

    Possibly a little less sharp compared with his showing at the Arnold Classic the previous week, Dexter nonetheless stole the show with exactly what the judges were looking for: thick, balanced mass and a ton of class. Entering and winning this show was a good strategic move for Dexter as he is has placed himself in consciousness of the bodybuilding public and the judges.

    After his Arnold loss a week before, he may have risked being overlooked (some say this has already been the case for many years) at this years Olympia, especially if he was to drop off the radar only to resurface for bodybuilding’s biggest event. But after the Australian Pro, all were left with little doubt over how truly awesome he can be.

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Dexter Jackson.
View More Pics Of Dexter At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

    His posing presentation, overall stage manner and sheer physical excellence put him in a class all of his own. No one really came close, no one other than Ronnie Rockel that is.

-> Second: Ronnie Rockel

    The prejudging came down to a battle between Ronnie, Dexter and Vince. From the front, Ronnie and Dexter could have been twins (same height and size with a similar V-taper). Dexter, however, had Ronnie from the back and in the side poses and this made all the difference.

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Ronnie Rockel.
View More Pics Of Ronnie At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

    But Ronnie did compare well to Dexter, which leaves one question in everyone’s mind: why is he constantly overlooked at the Mr. Olympia when he clearly has the shape, size and overall package to make the top eight. Given Ronnie’s showing at the Australian Pro, he has shown that he has the goods to become a top tier pro: good proportion, adequate size, and great presentation skills. His time will come.

-> Third: Vince Taylor

    One man, who is seemingly invincible, is past Masters Olympia champion Vince Taylor, who achieved his second Australian Pro third place finish in as many years. At this year’s Australia he seemed to present an even better physique compared to the one he made his 2006 bodybuilding comeback with.

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Vince Taylor.
View More Pics Of Vince At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

    Comparing well with both Dexter and Ronnie, men over 12 years younger than he, Vince will probably go down in history as being the greatest masters bodybuilder of all time, a record that probably will never be broken. Given his great showing at the Australian Pro, it will be interesting to see where he places at the 2007 Olympia, a contest he finished 11th in, in 2006.

-> Fourth: Martin Kjellstrom

    The biggest man in the show, Martin Kjellstrom achieved his highest placing as a pro to date with a physique piled with thick, dense muscle and great conditioning. His back and hamstrings especially deserve special mention as they are up there with the best in the business.

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Martin Kjellstrom.
View More Pics Of Martin At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

    A few structural problems (he is blocky in appearance compared with lighter guys such as Dexter and Ronnie) might have him battling for future minor placing’s, but he will always impress with his size.

-> Fifth: Hidetada Yamagishi

    What a find this guy is! Probably too small to prevail over Dexter and company just yet, Hidetada will prove a top level competitor in years to come. Having come off two good placing’s (seventh and third respectively) at the Ironman and Sacramento Pro shows, Japans top bodybuilder is gaining some good momentum and using the early shows to his advantage.

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Hidetada Yamagishi.
View More Pics Of Hidetada At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

    At the Australian Pro, Hidetada compared well symmetrically with the top three, but was down on size overall. His coloring, conditioning and presentation are areas he has clearly worked hard on and it showed.

Special Mention

-> Wong Hong:

    In his first pro show since 2004, Malaysia’s top bodybuilder, Wong Hong, stayed true to his promise and presented the improvements he said he would make during his extended off-season: namely, an additional 10kgs of solid muscle.

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Wong Hong.
View More Pics Of Wong At The 2007 Australian PGP: Finals

Wong Hong's Journey!
Wong, who last competed at the Toronto Pro in 2004, provides exact training and diet to achieve his best ever conditioning. Wong shares his insight into all aspects of his 2007 Australian Pro Prep.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    In Australia he also brought his best ever conditioning and the same flowing lines and great symmetry he is known for. Eighth place in his first competition in three years is a good result for Wong and as he is compared more often, he will work his way toward the top.