Battle For The British:
A Prediction And Preview
Following last year's resurgence of the 'big man' at the British finals in the truest sense of the word with 260lb Zack 'King' Khan the pro card and overall winner, it's going to be interesting to some to see if a super-heavyweight - or indeed a lighter man - will take the single pro card offered out in the UK each year this weekend. Here's what I see to be the main competition for that title of overall British Champion.
Given the comeback of the better heavier physiques in the UKBFF (British IFBB) in this past 5 years, I honestly think that we have seen the last of any weight class below light-heavyweights taking any pro cards - at the British anyway. (Selected Brits can win a pro card in their respective classes by placing top 5 at the Arnold Classic amateur each year) So, that leaves us with 3 weight divisions where the winners of each could go on to take the IFBB pro card this weekend.
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Zack Khan At The 2009 UK British Championships.
View More Pics Of Zack Khan At The 2009 UK British Championships.
First Up - Light-Heavyweights
In my mind there are really only two guys worth considering for this class if they turn up completely on their game. The first is Dean Lesiak, last year's close runner-up to two time winner (and now pro) Shaun Joseph-Tavernier and last month's overall Welsh finals winner Jon Griffith. Dean, a Temple Gym regular really nailed his best ever look and conditioning at last year's British. With a little more lower chest thickness and bigger arms and with his breathtaking shape Dean really is the man to beat this year.
Last year's 3rd placed light-heavy and recent overall Welsh Champ Jon Griffith has made significant improvements since 2009. So we know he's going to be looking good especially with the help of his contest prep guru Neil Hill - who has now trained and helped to victory the past three years running worth of overall British winners. (i.e. - Flex Lewis 2007, James Llewellin 2008 and Zack Khan in 2009) Jon's biggest weakness last year was his back development, which is now a thing of the past and perfectly in balance with the rest of his pleasing and rock hard physique. Either of these two men could take this class and everyone else I think is fighting it out for third place.
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Shaun Joseph-Tavernier, Dean Lesiak, And Jon
Griffith At The 2009 British Championships.
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Jon Griffith At The 2009 British Championships.
This is going to definitely be the surprise class of the whole show I predict. Last year we had a mixed bag of extreme UK talent with the title going to not necessarily the best physique but the most conditioned one on stage - Pat Warner. With last year's runner-up Lee Spencer and other big favourite and UKBFF newcomer Thomas Young both out of the running for this year through injury, it leaves me with 3 possibles to take this category. Firstly is last year's runner-up Barney Duplessis. Now Barney has placed top 2 or 3 in the British as both a light-heavy then a 'heavy' for the past 5 years on the trot.
In the gym, Barney is a true iron warrior and always keen to try for new looks and prep methods. Last year he attempted something else to come in bigger and fuller and despite placing 2nd it really did not bode successful for Barney with his softest look since 2004 when he was an also-ran. So, what does this mean for our 'Brutal one' this year? Seeing recent photos circulating the net of Barney in easily the craziest condition we've ever seen of late. Even at 3 weeks out it's just a matter of him being able to hold onto that shredded look and - if he can supersede it - then he could well be the last man standing on Sunday night at the Royal Centre in Nottingham.
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Barney Duplessis At The 2009 British Championships
View More Pics Of Barney Duplessis At The 2009 British Championships
Barney won't be heaviest heavyweight at I'd imagine 92-94kg on stage but he will be one of the thickest and hardest. Always the underdog, maybe Sunday will see Barney's tenacity and hard work finally pay off with a class win. My second choice is the comeback kid himself Cecil Croasdaile. Cecil won the British light-heavyweight title in 1992 and following a few sporadic years of competition disappeared only to re-invent himself as a proper freaky heavyweight that led Londoner Cecil to two regional victories at British qualifiers. When it comes to limb thickness he has it in spades and few will touch him, my only concern is his lack of v-taper which might be highlighted when up against guys like DuPlessis.
Still, I've not seen the new and improved Cecil in the flesh this year yet but I am told that he will be looking pretty special come this Saturday. I cannot wait. My final choice is the return of perhaps the most potentially dangerous guy we've seen on British shores for many years. Imported several years ago from Lithuania, Haroldas Dambraskus shocked the UK scene when he turned up at the UKBFF Leeds qualifier before the 2008 British. Weighing maybe no more than 94kg this guy has seriously freaky proportions with his inflated Phil Heath-like muscle bellies that simply hang of his frame which is all set off perfectly by a tiny waist and small joints.
Haroldas went to place 5th (behind a 280lb Zack Khan in 4th) in the 2008 British in the heavyweights even though he was just 1kg into the heavyweight weight limit (91kg). Insistent upon doing the heavies and not trying to get himself under the 90kg and under light-heavy limit I hear that he is promising to be a full 10kg heavier with the same freaky conditioning when he returns to the Royal Centre once again in just a few days time. Personally, this I think is the show's dark horse, if he nails it then its game over for the rest in this class. But, if he hasn't done his homework and has been in McDonalds every day (as is rumoured on the net, but you know what that can be like!) then he will get smoked by a rock hard Barney or a seriously 'on' Cecil.
I doubt anyone would argue that until two weeks ago this class was between just two men for the win. 2007 heavyweight winner and 2009 3rd placer Daz Ball and Alvin Small, the 2008 heavyweight British title winner and the one, if any, who really could have upset Zack Khan's applecart at last year's finals by taking a pretty close 2nd place. Unfortunately Daz tore his bicep just weeks before the big day recently and opting to have surgery as opposed to carrying on is now out of the running by skipping this year to recuperate ready for next year. So, this class I believe is Alvin's no question and - unless he does something completely crazy - will be the man who takes this class with ease with his incredible size and aesthetics. In a nutshell, if he loses this class then I'll eat my underpants!
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Darren Ball And Alvin Small At The 2009 British Championships.
View More Pics Of Darren Ball And Alvin Small At The 2009 British Championships.
Well, if Haroldas has does his homework then he will be the man to go up against Alvin for the pro card. If he hasn't though then he will get out-conditioned by Barney Duplessis who I think will shock everyone this year with his new and improved dry and ultra-ripped look that has seen him go to hell and back to achieve. The light-heavies I really do not think will be in contention for this, but I have been wrong.
So, there you have it, who will win? Who will nail it? Find out next week to read my report and see my exclusive photos on Bodybuilding.com to see how right, or wrong I actually was! Laters!
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