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David Robson's 2008 IFBB New Zealand Pro Review.

Check out my review of the 2008 IFBB New Zealand pro right here. Did Dexter deserve to win?

The first ever New Zealand Amateur, Elite and Professional Bodybuilding Championships proved to be an exceptionally successful event with a stacked line up of top tier professional bodybuilders' and an equally impressive field of Elite competitors', from which many good future professionals' will no doubt emerge.

The amateur division, though low on numbers, showcased New Zealand's best in this department, with the class winners' from this event making the Elite category, a separate grouping of international (New Zealand and overseas) athletes' bordering on professional status.

Though they saved the best for last and the wait was well worth it. The show most came to see, the professional men's category, did not disappoint.


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Moe El Moussawi!
No one is more excited for the New Zealand Pro than event organizer and promoter, Moe Moussawi.
David Robson

The field was thick with established talent and athletes', who with fine tuning and several more years experience, will find themselves in the top ranks of the IFBB.

And the pros' turned it on for the New Zealand fans' most of whom have only seen the IFBB bodybuilding's best in magazines or on DVD.

To see them in the flesh was a treat and will have undoubtedly motivated scores of Kiwi iron fanatics to reach their bodybuilding goals faster.

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Author, David Robson With Dexter Jackson.

To US fans' athletes' such as Dexter Jackson and Melvin Anthony may have lost some of there "shock" value as they are seen more often, at expos' and pro shows', but in New Zealand the fans' were in awe of these men.

A big thank you to the promoters' Moe Moussawi and Mark Stewart for staging such a major event, one that will stick in the memory of Kiwi fans until the next such occasion, which will hopefully be very soon.

dot The Elite Class dot

    The Elite Class has become a very welcome and popular addition to professional shows' internationally as it provides the perfect platform for competitors who are not yet pro, but wish to test their mettle against pro worthy athletes', somewhat of a middle battlefield ground between the amateur and pro ranks.

    The first ever Elite class connected to a professional event in New Zealand gave fans' a taste of some of bodybuilding's best international talent, the majority of which was New Zealand based.

    Over 16 competitors' stretched elbow to elbow across the stage, but in the end it came down to five competitors' making the cut, of which only one would emerge victorious.

    The final five comprised three New Zealanders' and two monsters' from Poland, the biggest of whom took the class: overall 2007 IFBB World Champion, Robert Piotrkowicz.

Robert Piotrkowicz
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Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2008 Arnold Classic.
View More Pics Of Robert Piotrkowicz At The 2008 Arnold Classic Here.

    From the moment Robert took to the stage he was the clear winner. The 2007 Arnold Classic amateur runner up, had mass, shape and conditioning worthy of a seasoned pro and if he chooses to compete in the pro rank's will make a major impact.

dot The Professional Class dot

    Of 12 professionals' competing in the first ever New Zealand Elite and Professional show, many parts of the world were represented, giving the event a truly international flavor: great athletes' from the US, New Zealander, Russia, Macedonia, Slovakia, Germany, Tahiti and Australia all presented class, and physiques' never before seen in New Zealand to the muscle-hungry, vocal crowd.

The Professional Class
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The Professional Class.

The Final Placements

dot 1. Dexter Jackson dot

    Predictably Dexter Jackson brought his usual stunning conditioning, shape and size to walk away with the winner's trophy.

Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson Walks Away With The Winner's Trophy.

    At the prejudging it was evident that nobody came close to the Blade as he cut his way through the competition with a physique that usually dominates every show he enters, as evidenced by his 2008 record alone: three pro wins'.

Dexter Jackson Dexter Jackson
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Dexter Jackson At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    Conditioning-wise Dexter had the decided edge, although there were other athletes who came very close. Nobody came close to his shape and general stage manner however, and he stood in a class of his own on this basis. The night show was a mere formality for one of bodybuilding's most successful athletes'.

dot 2. Melvin Anthony dot

    Another man who stood apart was Melvin Anthony, due more to his stage manner, endearing, winning attitude and, as usual, flawless posing ability.

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Melvin Anthony Wins The Best Poser Award.

    Possibly presenting a slight improvement in conditioning over his appearance at the Australian pro a week earlier, Melvin most certainly brought the same classy posing that earned him yet another Best Poser award.

Melvin Anthony's 2008 Arnold Classic Posing Routine.
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    At the night show, Melvin's conditioning seemed to have improved from that of the prejudging where he seemed slightly flat, especially in the glutes and hams.

    His upper body was right up there though, with chest and back development in line with bodybuilding yardstick, Dexter Jackson. Melvin's prejudging theatrics animated expressions and flawless compulsories added to his star appeal and no doubt gave him an edge heading into the night show.

Melvin Anthony Melvin Anthony
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Melvin Anthony At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Melvin Anthony At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    It was especially nice to see Melvin interacting with the fans; he had a seemingly tireless ability to gree them and share anecdotes regarding his career.

    At the night show he gave what is becoming a customary speech to the crowd where he thanked them and, on this occasion, spoke of his time training with event organizer Moe Moussawi.

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Melvin Anthony Takes Home 2nd Place.

dot 3. Toney Freeman dot

    As usual Toney was one of the largest men onstage and shocked onlookers' with his massive size (both onstage and at his booth).

    However, the X-man was clearly not at his best conditioning-wise and looked decidedly soft, especially from the back. In my preview for this show I pondered whether Toney would recapture his best shape at the New Zealand Pro and it appears he had not.

Toney Freeman Toney Freeman
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Toney Freeman At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    Displaying a physique that had regressed slightly from his Australian Pro showing a week earlier (where he placed fourth) Toney still managed third, showing that his overall balance and massive size more than compensate for smoothness for which any other pro would be severely punished.

    Toney was it appeared extremely all business onstage and off. His cool demeanor could also have been due to his inability to place where a physique like his belongs: at the very top.

dot 4. Sergey Shelestov dot

    The massive Russian could easily have traded places with Toney or even Melvin and no one, other than the two athletes' in question, would have argued this judgment.

    Massive from all angles and truly imposing (backstage he dwarfed everyone except behemoths' Freeman and Oscar Dexter) Sergey presented his best conditioning in recent memory to snatch an Olympia qualification.

Sergey Shelestov Sergey Shelestov
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Sergey Shelestov At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Sergey Shelestov At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    Standout body parts on Sergey were his biceps, back and hamstrings, the latter of which resembled thick sides of beef hanging from the back on each of his legs. From a pure mass standpoint he killed everyone in the back double biceps pose.

dot 5. Troy Alves dot

    Possible a little flat compared to his excellent showing in Australia a week earlier, the man with the beautifully aesthetic physique nevertheless had the crowd mesmerized with his soulful posing display.

    His stage manner was very good, as was all of the American athletes', showing that with experience, an ability to fully relax and enjoy the process often results.

Troy Alves Troy Alves
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Troy Alves At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Troy Alves At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    Another fan favorite Troy signed pictures, and spoke with fans in a genuine manner that conveyed the impression that he was a truly nice person who loved his job, regardless of the outcome.

dot 6. Ronny Rockel dot

    A man who seldom is rewarded in line with his genetic gifts is Germany's Ronny Rockel. Possible this is because he is a shorter guy with no glaring standout body parts, but even so, he does deserve to be judged more fairly as are the American competitors'.

    That Ronny does not have a physique that shocks you with a particular, impressive body part is also one of his greatest strengths: he is complete from head to toe.

Ronny Rockel Ronny Rockel
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Ronny Rockel At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Ronny Rockel At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    I had the pleasure of speaking with Ronnie backstage and can say that, even after witnessing all of the other competitors' at close quarters.

    Ronny is one of the most thickly muscled men competing today, muscle just swells off ever joint even when he is relaxed.

    At the New Zealand Elite and Pro, Ronny was better conditioned compared to his showing a week earlier at the Australian Pro. After prejudging, I had him at least fourth, possibly even as high as third, based on his conditioning and completeness.

dot 7. Jaroslav Hovarth dot

    Although on the smaller side compared to his NZ Pro peers, Jaroslav seemingly lacked nothing; he was another complete bodybuilder.

Jaroslav Hovarth Jaroslav Hovarth
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Jaroslav Hovarth At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Jaroslav Hovarth At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    He had also done his homework on conditioning and presentation: he was sliced from all angles and his posing routine was one of the night's best.

    Up close Jaroslav does not look overly impressive but when he poses his physique transforms remarkably. Placing in the top ten in his last two pro shows' has definitely improved Jaroslav's pro bodybuilding status.

dot 8. Oscar Tua Dexter dot

    Before prejudging Oscar told a friend of mine that he regularly reaches 150 kilograms in the off season and looking at him onstage it is not too hard to believe this claim: the man was huge, possibly the largest in the show, and certainly very close to Sergey and Freeman.

    Further refining his physique from his last pro show, the Australian Pro a week earlier, Oscar presented his best package of cuts and size to date.

Oscar Tua Dexter Oscar Tua Dexter
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Oscar Tua Dexter At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Oscar Tua Dexter At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    Every time he hit his side chest shot the crowd yelled its approval such was his thigh/hamstring thickness and solid upper body.

    At the night show Oscar entertained the crowd in traditional Tahitian dress before disrobing to perform a dramatic and chill-provoking posing routine. The future for this new professional is very bright.

dot 9. Oliver Adzievski dot

    Lacking the necessary conditioning needed to make a major impact in a competition such as this, Oliver nonetheless displayed great shape and good muscle mass.

Oliver Adzievski Oliver Adzievski
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Oliver Adzievski At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Oliver Adzievski At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    His physique was rather compact with no real weak points (in the Ronny Rockel mold). Reminding me of a younger Gustavo Badell, facially and in muscle shape, more experience and size will ensure that Oliver become be a professional bodybuilding force.

dot 10. Salah Ibrahim dot

    Showing a marked improvement over his Australian appearance a week earlier, Salah gave his hometown fans something to cheer about with a classy physique complete with tremendous abdominal development and massive shoulders.

Salah Ibrahim Salah Ibrahim
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Salah Ibrahim At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Salah Ibrahim At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    His posing routine was very lively and his enthusiasm was evident at both prejudging and the evening show. With added size Salah will be a good pro some day, such is his great shape and ability to come in dry and hard.

dot 11. Con Demetrious dot

    Con has a very aesthetic physique with great lines and near-perfect balance. His size is also good and he can hold his own with most on shape.

Con Demetrious Con Demetrious
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Con Demetrious At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Con Demetrious At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    On this day, though, he did not bring the best conditioning and this cost him at least two places'. His posing was also lackluster and one felt he was a little disappointed with the package he brought to New Zealand. Still, Con is a very promising professional with a load of talent.

dot 12. Michael Kingsnorth dot

    New Zealand's own posing machine did not disappoint with his typically energetic and creative routine. Stepping onstage at prejudging a full two kilograms heavier with the same level of conditioning he brought to the Australian Pro a week earlier, Michael, despite his controversial overall placement, was clearly his best ever.

Michael Kingsnorth Michael Kingsnorth
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Michael Kingsnorth At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.
View More Pics Of Michael Kingsnorth At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

    As far as structure and balanced goes Mike can hang with most professionals'. With a little added size he will start finding himself in the top ten at pro shows' very soon.

Guest Posing Appearances

The night show was made even more spectacular with the addition of guest posing appearances from New Zealand's top two bodybuilders': Moe Moussawi and Jo Stewart.

Jo Stewart Jo Stewart
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Jo Stewart Guest Posing
At The 2008 New Zealand Pro.

Both competitors' were in excellent shape despite enduring hectic schedules over the week prior to the event. At the completion of Moe's routine his daughter came onstage to perform an impromptu pose-down with her dad. A nice touch.

Award Presentations

Jo Stewart, Moe Mousawwi and Mark Stewart were all presented IFBB wards for their services to bodybuilding in New Zealand.