Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Arnold champ keeps Wolf at bay


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The?“Texas rattlesnake” Branch Warren had too much venom for the “German terrier” Dennis Wolf and returned in triumph to capture the coveted Arnold Classic pro bodybuilding crown at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday night.
It was a hard-fought and close contest that went a long way toward proving that the 37-year-old Warren had fully rebounded from a quad tear he suffered last year.
Wolf, 33, a fifth-place finisher at last year’s Mr Olympia, was howling all night with his v-taper shape and classical proportions, but in the end, the judges went for Warren’s beef and width.
Warren, the defending champion, took a US$130 000 cheque home to his wife Trish and newborn baby daughter and the hard luck Wolf – the runner-up last March as well – received US$75 000.
Evan Centopani was impressive and placed third, a spot up from last year. Canadian Ben Pakulski finished fourth – moving up six spots from 2011, and Dexter Jackson was fifth.
Frenchman Lionel Beyeke brought arguably the best shape of the 14 men on stage, but though he was nine pounds lighter than when he won the FLEX Pro on February 18, he was a shade smooth and finished sixth.
It was a clean sweep for Warren, as he also won the Most Muscular Man and Most Entertaining Posing awards.
The crowd was mixed upon the announcement of Wolf finishing second, and although Warren is a huge fan favourite, it appeared that the big German had enough for a victory.
The sport’s No.1 at the moment, Mr Olympia 2011 Phil “The Gift”?Heath, paid tribute to Warren in his review of the contest for flexonline.
“An amazing comeback. Branch’s heart cannot be measured. I don’t think it was a dominating victory but a win is a win,” Heath said.
The surprise placing was Pakulski (“Pak Man”), who finished ahead of Mr Olympia 2008 Jackson, and rising stars Brandon Curry and Shawn Rhoden.
It was a big result for the 29-year-old Centopani, who marked his pro debut in 2009 with a victory at the New York Pro before taking all of 2010 off.
Former Mr Central American and Caribbean (CAC) king Gustavo Badell had a very disappointing comeback, finishing 13th, the same spot he occupied at the 2009 Mr Olympia, on his previous appearance.
Another Venezuelan, Yaxeni Oriquen, the 1993 CAC queen, captured the Miss International title. Oriquen, the 2005 Miss Olympia winner, received a prize of US$25 000.


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