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Top Contenders for 2019 Arnold Classic

Branden Liezert

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It was 30 years ago that Rich Gaspari won the inaugural Arnold Classic title, and the event is now second only to the Olympia. The 2019 edition launches the spring pro bodybuilding season, and this year’s event in Columbus, Ohio, returns the 2018 champion as well as a number of recent Arnold Classic champs from other continents. Let’s take a look at the top competitors in this always-tough lineup, along with our predictions.

1. William “The Conqueror” Bonac

It’s hard to place bets against Bonac in any competition, so the 2019 Arnold Classic will be no different. Bonac is a household name in the world of bodybuilding and his consistent results at the past Mr. Olympias back that up. Possibly the most densely packed yet aesthetically pleasing physique we’ve ever seen at just over 5 feet, Bonac has the sinew-splitting look that only years of hard work and elite genetics can possibly bring. If he’s dialed in, I don’t know if anyone else can bring the same package of freakish density, full and bulbous muscle bellies, and outrageous width and sweep into a very tapered and tight waistline. Look for him to repeat.

2. Brandon “The Prodigy” Curry

Curry is travelling to Ohio with a full tank of momentum. His physique at last year’s Olympia was not only the biggest and thickest we’ve ever seen but also arguably the most conditioned. For many years as a pro, Curry’s lower body just wasn’t up to par with his otherworldly upper. After teaming with the “Camel Crew” though, Curry is as symmetrical and proportionate as nearly any other pro in the game. If Bonac doesn’t come in peeled and dry, Curry could pull it off and share the stage with Arnold when the dust settles.

3. Roelly “The Beast” Winklaar

The elder Winklaar brother is the biggest wild card of the weekend. As of late, Roelly has come into contests with great conditioning and has demonstrated amazing stomach control onstage (something he noticeably lacked severely just a couple of years ago). In Ohio, they tend to weigh the aesthetic portion of judging a bit more than at the Olympia, historically at least. If Roelly nails his condition and comes in with his jaw-dropping fullness and is able to pose to his strengths while keeping everything under control, he’ll be hard for anyone to beat.

4. Josh Lenartowicz

Pictures of Lenartowicz doing walking lunges with 405 pounds found their way to social media just a couple weeks ago. It was met with as much criticism as it was admiration, but either way, one thing is veryclear: Lenartowicz wants this title badly and is willing to do whatever it takes to hoist the trophy overhead. He combines mind-boggling density, hardness, and condition on a huge frame and has shown that he can be consistent in bringing that package. A few guys will have to be off for him to get the win, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

5. Cedric “Big Mac” McMillan

Big Mac is one of bodybuilding’s iconic physiques, but his problem is inconsistency with conditioning. In updates leading up to the show, he’s looked good: full, huge, and hard. McMillan can sometimes hold some water onstage that really takes away from his aesthetics, especially in comparison to others when he’s standing next to ultra-conditioned athletes. This show is really wide open to anyone in the top six, but Cedric will have to be super dry and full, and I just don’t have the faith in that that I do for some other men.

6. Luke Sandoe

Luke has a very Dorian-esque physique, but he’s yet to nail his condition as a pro. Now with new coach Chris Aceto, Sandoe looks to be his best ever at this point, just weeks from the show. A lot can happen from then until showtime (good and bad), but he definitely has the muscle he needs to take this title. It would take a best-ever showing from the Brit and a little help from his competitors being “off,” but it’s far from impossible for Sandoe to reign supreme in Ohio.

*Images courtesy of Instagram


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