Nine men hope to win one of bodybuilding’s most prestigious contests, but who will win?
Ohio’s capital city of Columbus has been chosen as the location for the 2022 Arnold Sports Festival. The iconic bodybuilding competition will celebrate its 34th year in 2022 when the Arnold Classic returns. Second only to Mr. Olympia, it’s regarded the most prestigious award a participant can receive in the sport. For the first time ever, the competition will take place across two evenings this year. Finals will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2022, after prejudging on Friday, March 4, 2022. The Battelle Grand Ballroom of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH, will host both rounds of competition.
VIP Packages for the Arnold Classic, Arnold Strongman, Arnold Expo, and 3-Day & Daily Expo are available. Saturday and Friday night final tickets as well as individual Arnold Showcase and IFBB Pro League Meet & Greet tickets, as well as Arnold Amateur NPC tickets, may be purchased now.
The best men’s Open competitors from the IFBB Pro League will go head-to-head in this competition. At least one of those men is a former Mr. Olympia who has also won the Arnold Classic. In alphabetical order, here is the complete list.
- Brandon Curry (USA)
- Brett Wilkin (USA)
- Fabio Giga Rezende (Brazil)
- Justin Rodriguez (USA)
- Maxx Charles (USA)Regan Grimes (Canada)
- Samson Dauda (United Kingdom)
- Steve Kuclo (USA)William Bonac (Netherlands)
Listed below are five athletes on the roster who should be closely monitored on competition day as they present the biggest threat.
Curry, the champion of the 2019 Arnold Classic and the 2019 Mr. Olympia, is a professional wrestler. He is only the third person in history to win both titles in the same year, and he intends to repeat the feat this year. If he is successful, he will be the only bodybuilder in history to accomplish that accomplishment twice.
Curry’s physique had a noteworthy fault in that his upper body outweighed his legs, which was his most noticeable flaw. Over the previous 18 months, he has, on the other hand, raised the issue dramatically. With the goal of increasing his strength and muscle mass even more while remaining as lean as possible when he hits the stage at roughly 250 pounds, he’s been training in Kuwait since late December. He’s the overwhelming favorite heading into the show, and he’s optimistic that he’ll be able to claim his second title after winning it once before.
“The Conqueror” has already won this contest twice, in 2018 and 2020, making him a two-time winner of the competition. His inability to defend his championship in 2021 was attributed to travel complications. The problem for him in this performance is that Curry is in the lineup, and he has finished ahead of Bonac in each of the last four meetings between the two competitors.
The quantity of solid muscle on Bonac’s 5’6″ frame demonstrates his strength. He has massive legs and a small waist, which gives the impression that he is even larger than he actually is. His most recent victory came at the Arnold Classic in 2020. A three-time champion is within his grasp, and achieving that feat would place him with a select group of three-time champions that includes Dexter Jackson, Flex Wheeler, Kai Greene, and Jay Cutler.
Kuclo, like McMillan, is a well-known figure in the world of sports and has been a member of the professional ranks for quite some time. Kuclo has won five professional fights since making his professional debut at the NPC USA Championships in 2011. His fifth victory came at the Indy Pro in 2019. However, “Kingsnake” has yet to claim either of the sport’s two most prestigious championships, the Arnold or the Olympia, as a prize. In 2021, he came the closest to winning the Arnold Classic when he finished third behind champion Nick Walker and runner-up Iain Valliere, who were both from Canada.
He has competed at 280 pounds in the past, but he is said to be more concerned with being as defined and conditioned as possible right now. If that’s the case, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares against the likes of Curry and Bonac.
Regan Grimes of Canada finished in 15th place overall in the 2021 Olympia in Orlando, Florida. Before he left town, he engaged Milos Sarcev, a former IFBB Pro bodybuilder, to be his personal trainer. The benefits began to accrue immediately after he won the KO Pro show in Egypt in 2021, thereby qualifying for the 2022 Olympiad in Athens.
Now, the duo has their sights set on the Arnold Classic, with Grimes aiming to be the most physically fit athlete on the stage. His goal may be to hold every posture for a longer period of time than the rest of the field, which will help him win the championship.
Despite the fact that the show’s field is stacked with well-established rivals, the X-factor might be someone who isn’t as well-known. Former Classic Physique athlete Brett Wilkin first competed professionally in the sport in 2018. After that, he competed in the 212 category for his professional debut in 2019. According to NPC News Online, his greatest finish was sixth place at the 2019 Toronto Pro, which was his best overall result.
After taking the year 2020 off, he returned to the stage in 2021, but this time as a contestant in the men’s Open. He dazzled the Chicago Pro audience when he challenged Hunter Labrada to a tie-breaker and ultimately won the contest. Even though Labrada would go on to win the show, Wilkin made his presence known and sent an unambiguous message: he was coming.
When Wilkin hits the stage in Columbus for the first time, he intends to weigh in at or above 250 pounds, according to his statements on several podcasts. The competition against the likes of Curry and Bonac will be his first experience battling against them. Even if he doesn’t win, a strong showing will earn him points toward the Olympia Qualification System, which may help him qualify for the Olympia if he doesn’t win a show this season.
So, who do you think out of these athletes will take home the Arnold Classic trophy in 2022?