2008 New York Pro Review: Shredded Bodies Battled It Out!

New York served host to another IFBB battle of shredded bodies on May 10, 2008. Promoters put on another successful show that included men’s & women’s bodybuilding, and a 202 lbs or under class for men. See who made top 5!

New York served host to another IFBB battle of shredded bodies on May 10, 2008. Promoter Steve Weinberger and Bev Francis, with the help of retired pro bodybuilder, Shawn Ray, put together the first 202 and Under Men's bodybuilding show of the year. Bev and Steve added this to the usual Men's Bodybuilding show. Women's Bodybuilding also made a return to the Big Apple which brought out 21 women for the competition.

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The 202 & Under Show
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This competition brought out 16 competitors with hopes of qualifying for the 202 & Under competitions at this year's Olympia. There will be a new show added to the Olympia which features the men who qualify in the 202 & Under class.

This show had three spots up for grabs. There were some familiar faces looking to take the show and the favorite going in was David Henry. Charles Dixon was making his pro debut after his victory at the 2007 Nationals and had hopes of knocking Henry out of the top spot. How did it all go down? There were a few surprises in store once the prejudging began around 11:15 in New York.

dot 5. Roc Shabazz dot

    Roc was in good condition and brought a great physique to the stage. He edged out Guy Ducasse for the fifth spot by a narrow margin. He had great shape and probably the best I've seen him look. Great showing by Roc.

Roc Roc
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Roc Shabazz.
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dot 4. Charles Dixon dot

    He was good in his debut and some may have had him in fifth behind Roc. Charles has a ton of muscle on his short frame but is pretty balanced. His only problem is his conditioning.

    Charles hasn't been able to get that dry, graining, hard look to his physique yet and may never be able to achieve that. He has thick skin which presents a challenge to him when it comes to getting really grainy looking. If he is able to get a bit more conditioned he could move up a few spots. His legs are the only spot where his conditioning could be brought up a bit.

Charles Dixon Charles Dixon
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Charles Dixon.
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dot 3. Jason Arntz dot

    Jason came in a bit smaller than his previous outings. I'm not sure what he weighed in the past but he definitely came down in his upper body for this contest. Most notably his delts were downsized this time around.

    His conditioning was good and what most likely elevated him to the third place shot. If he could improve for his next show it would be to bring up his arms, especially in his front double bicep shot. Overall this was a good outing for Jason though.

Jason Arntz Jason Arntz
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Jason Arntz.
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dot 2. David Henry dot

    David wasn't at his all-time best but was improved from the Arnold. He still has one of the best backs in the business but is hindered by his lower body. It looked as if David had lost some of the confidence he gained last year.

    When he posed he went through the shots holding his head down and rarely looked up with any sense of confidence. The judges had him squarely in second throughout the entire show. I would have it a little closer on the cards between him and the winner but I had no problem with him in second at the night show.

David Henry David Henry
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David Henry.
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dot 1. Kevin English dot

    Most people were wondering who this guy was but he's been around for awhile. He was the overall winner of the 1998 NPC Jr. Nationals as well as the winner of the middleweight division at the '98 Nationals. Ten years later he notched his first pro win and did so in convincing fashion, in the judges eyes at least.

    Kevin was much wider than David and won the show with his wheels combined with spot on conditioning. If you didn't know what he weighed you may think he weighed closer 215-220 without much question.

Kevin English Kevin English
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Kevin English.
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dot Final Notes dot

    One guy to watch if he comes in better condition is Louis Joseph. He has a balanced physique and great arms. His conditioning was off at this show and led to him finishing in 8th at this show.

Louis Joseph Louis Joseph
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Louis Joseph.
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Women's Bodybuilding
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It had been a few years since the women's bodybuilding had been held at this venue. The top five was very competitive at this contest and ended up being a good show with the top three heading to the Olympia.

dot 5. Debbie Laszewski dot

    Debbie came in looking good and her conditioning was enough to land her in the top five. Her strongest poses are from the front. Where she could improve is her detail in the rear lat spread and a bit better conditioning in her glutes/hamstrings. Overall it was a good showing for her and if she improves her lower body conditioning she could find herself on the Olympia stage.

Debbie Laszewski Debbie Laszewski
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Debbie Laszewski.
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dot 4. Dena Westerfield dot

    After prejudging I thought the judges would have had her in the top three based on the callouts. When it ended she found herself one spot shy of qualifying for the Olympia.

    Her upper body conditioning was very good but was a bit smooth in her lower body, particularly in her glute and hamstring area. The one hindrance Dena has with her physique is her waist appears a little thick. If she brings up her quads it may help balance her physique out.

Dena Westerfield Dena Westerfield
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Dena Westerfield.
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dot 3. Rosemary Jennings dot

    Rosemary brought a balanced physique to this show. She has great shape and her back is outstanding. It was definitely close between her third place finish and the second place spot.

    Ultimately, she ended up qualifying for the Olympia where she could legitimately be in the top 6 there. She also has amazing calves and overall had a great showing at this contest.

Rosemary Jennings Rosemary Jennings
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Rosemary Jennings.
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dot 2. Jeannie Paparone dot

    She matched her best placings of her career with a second place finish. I thought she looked great and would have guessed she would be lower after prejudging but second where she belonged.

    Based on some of the prejudging callouts I would have guessed she'd be near fifth. The judges got it right with her second place finish and she matched up very well to the champ.

Jeannie Paparone Jeannie Paparone
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Jeannie Paparone.
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    I haven't seen Jeannie compete a whole lot but this was by far the best I've seen her in the handful of times I've caught her on stage. Great detail from the back and her conditioning was very good. I believe her conditioning is what put her ahead of Rosemary.

dot 1. Cathy LeFrancois dot

    Cathy brought sexy back to women's bodybuilding. She combined a feminine look with a polished, balanced physique. She wasn't quite as hard and dry as she was at the Arnold, which I believe helped her in this case.

    She was in great condition and it wasn't too much. Cathy poses in a way that again is feminine and she is a good representation of female bodybuilding.

Cathy LeFrancois Cathy LeFrancois
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Cathy LeFrancois.
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dot Final Notes dot

    If the female bodybuilding has a chance at staying alive it is women like Cathy that will save it. Yes, I do think it plays into the overall package when a woman is able to still look feminine from head to toe. Some will disagree with me, but you can't deny a more attractive woman matched with a conditioned, muscular physique is good for the industry.

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Men's Bodybuilding
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The Men's bodybuilding lacked many "big names" and all the hype was around Kai Greene going into this show and rightfully so. Many people were watching to see how rookie Ben White would do after he proclaimed he was the greatest in Vegas after an overall win at USAs.

dot 5. Craig Richardson dot

    This guy is good and probably the most underrated competitor going into the show. He has a very aesthetically pleasing physique and nice lines. The only major fault he has is in his back and in particular his lower back. His conditioning wasn't 100% and he seemed to fade as the day went on.

    He did manage to qualify for the Olympia and if he works on his back and brings better conditioning to the Olympia he could be a top 10 competitor. His routine was good and he proved no one should over look him in any line up.

Craig Richardson Craig Richardson
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Craig Richardson.
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dot 4. David Henry dot

    I touched on David's showing in the 202 class. A fourth place finish had to be a disappointment for David considering his placing at the 2007 Olympia.

David Henry David Henry
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David Henry.
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dot 3. Ronny Rockel dot

    Ronnie always looks great from the front but from the back is where it costs him a placing or two. This show he was a bit soft from the back and in particular his lower body.

    He looked to be enjoying himself onstage and will make a return to the Olympia stage once again. If he improves his conditioning in his lower body you could see him crack the top 10 at the Olympia, but that's a big if as we haven't seen him nail it recently.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel.
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dot 2. Kevin English dot

    In all reality he won both shows. Why? Come on, Kai Greene was in a league of his own. This was a huge statement for Kevin to not only win the 202 and Under class but also place second to a top Olympia competitor.

    If Kevin was smart I'd suggest he enter a couple more smaller shows and collect a few more pay checks. I don't think he'll do well at the Olympia, but never say never. This was clearly the best he's been as a pro. He could quite possibly go into the Europa Super show and win the 202 class as well as crack the top five there in the main show like he did here.

Kevin English Kevin English
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Kevin English.
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dot 1. Kai Greene dot

    What can you say about Kai? The show was his from the moment he entered his name to the roster. I say that with no disrespect to the other competitors, but Kai is a top 6 Olympia contender and now considered one of the best with another pro win to his resume.

    I'm told Kai was sick before the show and advised by a couple people to not even enter the show. I saw him guest pose a week earlier and he looked good, but he did mention he'd like to pose earlier in the night as he wasn't feeling well. Whatever it was that ailed him certainly didn't effect his performance in New York.

Kai Greene Kai Greene
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Kai Greene.
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    In front of a home town crowd he displayed crazy muscle thickness and solid conditioning. His routine was entertaining, but not over the top like some have criticized in the past. This win gives Kai some momentum and added hype going into the Olympia.

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    What happened to Ben White? He finished a couple points behind Craig Richardson in the prejudging and got his wake-up call to the big league. Ben did a great deal of talking before the show, which is great, but when you fail to back it up you'll end up like King Kamali when it's all said and done.

    If I didn't know better I would have said Ben White looked like he could have competed in the 202 and Under class as David Henry and Kevin English both looked bigger than him on stage.

    Ben White Ben White
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    Ben White.
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    His conditioning was good but he lacked the size needed as well as detail in his back. Leo Ingram looked good and was in great condition but he could have been marked down due to the large lump in his right lat. Martin Kjellstrom was shredded and probably displayed the highest level of conditioning in the show.

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Conclusion
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The top five in the men qualify for the 2008 Olympia held in Las Vegas. The top three in the women will head to Vegas for the Ms. Olympia contest. The show was run well and Bodybuilding.com's Bob Chic served as the Emcee for the show.

Bob kept things moving along and did a much better job than his partner in crime, Shawn Ray who emceed the 202 and Under Class. Shawn is great on video and the radio but you put him on stage to emcee and he doesn't know what to do.

Two awards were given out for best posing in the women and the 202 and Under Class. Debbie Laszewski won the women's and Tricky Jackson took home the men's. The few competitors I spoke with about the 202 & Under class all enjoyed it and it was a tougher show to call who would place where. When you have guys competing on a more even playing field in terms of mass it made things a bit more exciting.