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Warren Wills His Way To Victory!

Branch Warren's combination of size, conditioning, and graininess are too much for the field at the 2011 Arnold Classic.

Warren Wills His Way To Victory

After a hotly contested prejudging on the Veteran's Memorial stage, the competitors retook the stage at the finals to determine the Arnold Classic champion. Coming out of prejudging, the two top contenders seemed to be Branch Warren and Dennis Wolf, with Evan Centopani, Victor Martinez, and possibly Dexter Jackson rounding out the top five.

Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International. Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
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Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.

Not to say there weren't other impressive physiques on stage; this was one of the deepest and best-conditioned lineups in recent memory. A few competitors faded between prejudging and the night show, however. Ronny Rockel's midsection became a bit bloated and distended, and Sergey Shelestov seemed to lose some tightness and graininess in his physique.

In contrast, Evan Centopani, Dexter Jackson, and Toney Freeman came on stronger at night, their increased fullness allowing them to make their play for a top spot in this stacked lineup. Crowd favorite routines included Dennis Wolf, who brought the crowd to a crescendo with his graceful dynamic routine (good enough for best poser award); and Branch Warren, whose energy and intensity drove the fans into a frenzy!

During the comparison round of finals, the first five men called to center stage were Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf, Victor Martinez, Evan Centopani, and Dexter Jackson. It seemed that a repeat of the prejudging battle was to follow, and battle they did, knowing that only a few points might separate each of them from victory.

Dennis Wolf At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International. Dennis Wolf At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
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Dennis Wolf At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
View More Pics Of Dennis Wolf At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.

After the first round of poses, Branch was asked to step out of the lineup, seemingly indicating that he may have sewn up the title. The remaining four competitors onstage continued to battle through each pose, trying their best to convince the judges of their superiority.

In the second finals callout, Roelly Winklar, Toney Freeman, Ronny Rockel, and Johnnie Jackson were summoned to the stage. Rockel fading from prejudging to finals seemed to open the door to Toney Freeman or Johnnie Jackson sneaking into the top six. The final callout comprised Robert Piotrkowicz, Ben Pakulski, Sergey Shelestov, Fouad Abiad, and Essa Hassan. Of this group, Essa seemed to have the best hardness and fullness, though Paluski may have been favored in symmetry.

Initially, there was concern that Branch winning the most-muscular award again amounted to a consolation prize. But in the end, his combination of size, conditioning, graininess, and all around HOLY **** factor allowed him to FINALLY bring home the Arnold Classic title he has so desperately sought for half a decade.

The full placings went like this:

  1. Branch Warren
  2. Dennis Wolf (best posing routine winner)
  3. Victor Martinez
  4. Evan Centopani
  5. Dexter Jackson
  6. Ronny Rockel

For Branch Warren, this was an outcome of validation and triumph. For Dennis Wolf and Victor Martinez, this was redemption, as many people had written them off. Those two are back, and with a vengeance. Evan Centopani continues a strong young career with an outstanding debut at his first Arnold Classic in a very deep lineup.

Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
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Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.
View More Pics Of Branch Warren At The 2011 Arnold Classic, Ms. International, Fitness International & Figure International.

Can Dexter Jackson find a way to make it back into winner's circle again? Only time will tell. One thing that is not in question, however, is that the anticipation for the 2011 Olympia as well as the 2012 Arnold will be immense. We look forward to watching it all unfold-again!

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