PBW CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

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A six-pack of things to look for heading into the weekend's Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

by Allan Donnelly

August 6, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

If the IFBB were the WWE or the UFC, this weekend's Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships would likely be called IFBB 96: Redemption. Catchy, right? It's also true. At the top of this veteran-laden lineup, a number of big names will be looking to redeem themselves after subpar outings in recent contests. At the top of that list are Dennis James, Toney Freeman, Darrem Charles, David Henry and Mark Dugdale. Below, we take a look at a six-pack of topics - remembering not to leave the ladies out, of course - heading into Saturday's showdown.

Stay tuned to Flexonline.com for continued coverage leading up to the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships!

TOMORROW: Dennis James By The Numbers
THURSDAY: Women's Spotlight
FRIDAY: Five Questions with Flex Lewis
SATURDAY: Complete coverage from the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

WHAT: Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships
WHEN: Saturday, August 9
TIME: Prejudging at 9 am EST; Finals at 6:30 pm EST
WHERE: Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa FL
FOR MORE INFO: pbwproshow.com

COMPETITOR LIST
MEN'S BODYBUILDING
Abiad, Fouad
Almohsinawi, Khalid
Alves, Jorge
Arevalo, Pablo
Baker, Paul
Becht, Marcus
Belgrave, Lyndon
Borrelli, Omar
Brown, Elvis
Carrasco, Raul
Chacon, Marcos *
Charles, Darrem
Clarke, Fedel
Devis, Clarence
Ducasse, Guy***
Dugdale, Mark
Elsetouhi, Tarek
Finocchiaro, Anthony
Francis, Vonne  *
Freeman, Toney
Hampton, James
Henry, David
Horvath, Jaroslav *
Huff, Roland
Jackson, Richard *
James, Dennis 
Jones, Ken***
Kindred, Michal*
Lewis, James Flex*
Liu, Vincent  *
Long, Jeffrey
Lytle, Daron
Mehmet, Yildirim 
Mishin, Evgeny
Nemeth, Istavan
Nicholls, Jerry
Ojex, Bola
Pica, Gian Enrico
Rabiei, Carlos Majid
Sauvage, Frederic
Shabazz, Roc
Torres, Clifton *
Valentino, Mike *
Weatherill, Bob
Wonsley, Nathan *
Hampton, James
Henry, David
Horvath, Jaroslav
Huff, Roland
Jackson, Richard *
* - denotes 202-pound competitors

WOMEN'S BODYBUILDING
Andersen, Irene
Ball, Nicole
Bazemore, Mercedes
Bramwell, Debbie
Bustamante, Myriam
Caputo, Giusy
DiRenzo, Beverly
Grozajova, Aurelia
Jerumbo, Mary Ellen
Larson, Klaudia
Linke-Sippl, Jana
McCready, Wendy
Moore, Tonia
Partenza, Claudia
Perez, Kim
Pfuetzenreuter, Nicole
Rivieccio, Annie
Salotti, Carla


GO TO PAGE TWO FOR OUR TAMPA SIX-PACK

A six-pack of things to look for heading into the weekend's Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

by Allan Donnelly

August 6, 2008

FLEXONLINE.COM

If the IFBB were the WWE or the UFC, this weekend's Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships would likely be called IFBB 96: Redemption. Catchy, right? It's also true. At the top of this veteran-laden lineup, a number of big names will be looking to redeem themselves after subpar outings in recent contests. At the top of that list are Dennis James, Toney Freeman, Darrem Charles, David Henry and Mark Dugdale. Below, we take a look at a six-pack of topics - remembering not to leave the ladies out, of course - heading into Saturday's showdown.

Stay tuned to Flexonline.com for continued coverage leading up to the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships!

TOMORROW: Dennis James By The Numbers
THURSDAY: Women's Spotlight
FRIDAY: Five Questions with Flex Lewis SATURDAY: Complete coverage from the Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships

WHAT: Pro Bodybuilding Weekly Championships
WHEN: Saturday, August 9
TIME: Prejudging at 9 am EST; Finals at 6:30 pm EST
WHERE: Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa FL
FOR MORE INFO: pbwproshow.com

1. LADIES NIGHT
Of the 17 competitors in women’s bodybuilding, only two – Annie Rivieccio and Nicole Ball – have qualified for the Ms. Olympia. Since the top three here will qualify, that means that at least one lucky lady will be booking a trip to Vegas and the Orleans Arena for the first time come Monday morning.

(From L to R: Annie Rivieccio and Nicole Ball at the 2007 Ms. Olympia)

2. LITTLE BIG MEN
Tampa will play host to the third Under 202-Pound Contest of the year. Former-giant-killer-turned-giant (well, in this class) David Henry returns after placing second to Kevin English at the first 202 show of the year in New York in early May. The 202 class seemed tailor-made for Henry, and a loss here will further damage Henry’s reputation as the best of the best among the smaller class. The most likely to unseat Henry? We’ll go with Welsch wunderkid James “Flex” Lewis. The PBW Championships will mark the US debut of the 24-year-old Lewis, who earned his pro card by winning the light heavies and overall at the British Nationals in October of 2007. Roc Shabazz, Guy Ducasse and Tricky Jackson should also be in the mix.

(James "Flex" Lewis winning the overall at the 2007 British Championships)

3. DAVID VS GOLIATH How will the 202 winner fare in the open show? A year ago, Henry had no problem beating a number of mass monsters at their own game when he placed 10th at the 2007 Olympia. Should Henry win the 202 Class, he’ll be hoping for a repeat performance. Results from when the two previous 202 Class winners - English in New York and Ray Arde in Houston - entered the open class were mixed. English fared well in New York, placing 2nd to Kai Greene in the open class. But Arde wasn’t so fortunate last month in Houston, winning the 202 class but falling to 14th in a relatively weak lineup.

(David Henry placing 2nd in the Under 202 Class at the New York Pro in May)

4. HITTING THE MARK
A year ago, we thought Mark Dudgale was the perfect candidate to win multiple 202 titles, despite his placing out of the top 15 at the '08 Olympia. No chance of that happening now. That’s not a knock on Dugdale, who is routinely one of the best-conditioned guys in any contest he enters. It’s simply because, after a productive offseason, we’re hearing Dugdale will be coming in at around 220 pounds, or roughly 10 heavier than he was at the 2007 Olympia. A bigger, conditioned Dudgale could be the surprise of the contest.

(Mark Dugdale at the 2007 Ironman Pro)

5. DARREM DROPPING?
Has Darrem Charles lost the nickname Mr. Consistency for good? Or was his lackluster 6th-place showing in Houston – his first contest of the ’08 season – an abberation? Charles has rebounded from subpar outings before, most recently when he placed ... sixth at the 2007 Keystone Classic in June of 2007, only to return to his trademark shredded condition later in the season to win the Montreal Pro and place second at the Atlantic City Pro. But at 39 years old, is Charles slipping? How he shows up here could determine whether the 18-year veteran still has gas left in the tank or if he’s nearing the end of the road.

(Darrem Charles placing 2nd at the 2007 Atlantic City Pro)

5. X-MAN RETURNS?
After a disastrous 2007 Olympia, Freeman rebounded to some degree in the early part of the 2008 season by placing fourth in Australia and third at the New Zealand Pro in March. Freeman was still a long way away from matching his dominating pair of performances to start the 2007 season (winning the Ironman Pro and placing third at the Arnold Classic), but his improvement silenced the critics saying the 42-year-old Freeman’s best days were behind him … for a while. We know he’ll be one of the biggest competitors in the contest at around 275-280 pounds, but we won’t know if Freeman will silence the critics for good until we see the condition he’s in when he sets foot on stage.

(Toney Freeman winning the 2007 Ironman Pro

6. PLAY IT AGAIN DJ
Fourth place at the 2003 Olympia. For years Dennis James had been trying to get back to that form. But the harder he tried, the further away he got. Chasing Ronnie Coleman, you see, has it’s pitfalls, and as James got bigger, he lost the proportions and conditioning that got him there in the first place. James hit rock bottom at last year's Colorado Pro, finishing eighth. Now, after over a year away from the stage, James plans on coming into the PBW Championships at around 245-248 pounds, much closer to the 242 he weighed at the ’03 Olympia. If James can regain that form, it might not matter how anybody else comes in.

(Dennis James (4th place) and Dexter Jackson (third place) at the 2003 Mr. Olympia)

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