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February 24, 2007

2007 Sacramento Pro Final Results

Just in from head judge Steve Weinberger...

2007 Sacramento Pro Finals
February 24, 2007
Sacramento, California

Men's Bodybuilding Results
17) Clifton Torres
16) Rod Ketchens
15) Eryk Bui
14) Aiman Faour
13) Roc Shabazz
12) Sergey Shelestov
11) Rusty Jeffers
10) Daniele Seccarecci
9) Omar Deckard
8) Joel Stubbs
7) Moe Elmoussawi
6) Kris Dim
5) Marcus Haley
4) Ahmad Haidar
3) Hidetada Yamagishi
2) Silvio Samuel
1) Toney Freeman

Women's Bodybuilding
Heavyweights:
8) Aurelia Grozajova
7) Irene Anderson
6) Heather Foster
5) Helen Bouchard
4) Mah-Ann Mendoza
3) Brenda Raganot
2) Kim Perez
1) Heather Policky

Lightweights:
6) Carla Salotti
5) Angela Debatin
4) Gayle Moher
3) Vicki Nixon
2) Cathy Lefrancois
1) Antoinette Norman

Sacramento Pro Top 5 Men

We're in the fourth round: The top five in no order: Toney Freeman, Silvio Samuel, Marcus Haley, Hidetada Yamagishi, and Ahmad Haidar.

They just moved Toney to the middle; Silvio and Hidetada are flanking Toney. Silvio is the sharpest guy on stage right now; and the man has some deep-ridged abs. Toney's size may help him win the day, but he needs to dial it in more before next week's Arnold Classic to get in the top five mix there.

We're posing down now, judges have made their decision.

5) Marcus Haley
4) Ahmad Haidar
3) Hidetada Yamagishi, qualifies for Olympia -- nice job for the first Japaneze bodybuilder to ever qualify for the O.
2) Silvio Samuel -- tough decision, this could have gone his way
1) Toney Freeman, who goes two for two in 2007. Can he make it three for three next week? Don't count the big man out.

2007 Sacramento Pro Men's Finals

We're in the midst of the men's finals, third round posing routines. Based on prejudging, this show is going to boil down to a battle between Ironman champion Toney Freeman and Spain's Silvio Samuel. Meanwhile, fighting for third place and an Olympia qualification are Hidetada Yamagishi and Ahmad Haidar, with already-qualified Marcus Haley in the mix as well.

Best of the posing round thus far are Marcus Haley, who infused some pop-and-lock dance moves into his hip-hop infused routine, and Rusty Jeffers, who is a throwback to the classic era -- he puts a lot of energy and thought into his routine and it shows.

Silvio is up ... Lonnie Teper just announced that Samuel got an invite to the Arnold next week. Very well deserved. Silvio is living proof that you sometimes just don't know who's going to emerge in the pro ranks ...last year, he was a guy who showed some potential but could never quite peak for a show. Now he's a guy who could win the Sacramento Pro and no one would blink an eye (well, except Freeman, who is hoping he can add a third IFBB title to his mantle).

Former NPC National light-heavyweight champion, Atlanta's Roc Shabazz is up. While Roc hasn't had a lot of luck yet as an IFBB pro (his best showing thus far was 8th at the 2006 Australian Pro) he's a grade-A personality with a lot of fans. Hopefully he can make the improvements he needs to contend for a title down the road, it would be great to see.

Next year, it was just announced the Sacramento Pro will be held March 8, the week after the Arnold, in the same venue, the Crest Theater in downtown Sacramento. That's the same timeframe it was held last year (when it was the San Francisco Pro).

Italy's Daniele Seccarecci is up. He's off on this night, but he did have a rousing routine to My Chemical Romance's "The Black Parade."

Continuing the international run, Russia's Sergey Shelestov is up. He showed a lot of promise in the 2006 Romanian Grand Prix, finishing behind Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. He's harder than he was at the Ironman, but still not there yet. He's got potential -- and he can do the splits, for what it's worth.

Joel Stubbs, he of the awe-inspiring back, is doing his routine. He may have gotten a little tighter since prejudging. It's so unfortunate that a leg injury holds back his lower body development, because his upper body is simply awesome. He's Mr. Olympia caliber from the waist up.

Clifton Torres from Hawaii is on stage. Unfortunately for Torres, he has not gotten tight enough either this week or at last week's Ironman. A bantamweight as an amateur (he won his class at the 2002 Nationals to earn his pro card) to make a dent as a pro he needs to be absolutely shredded. He'll have to hit the drawing board before his next show.

Last up is Hidetada Yamagishi. Like Silvio, he's been working with Milos Sarcev, and his improvements have been vast. He was very good last year at the Ironman, but this year he should be contending for an Olympia qualifying spot. Personally, I would give the nod to Ahmad in third for a more aesthetic package, but Hide may indeed prevail and take third when all is said and done. I haven't seen a scoresheet, but I would guess it's a close margin between the two -- and Haley could potentially be ahead of them both. Soon we'll know, as we're about to go into the fourth and final round, where they bring out the top five for one last comparison.

Sacramento Pro Women's Bodybuilding Finals

The results are in for the Sacramento Pro women ... in her pro debut, 2006 USA overall champ Heather Policky edged out lightweight champ Antoinette Norman. The top five in each class:

Heavyweight:
5) Helen Bouchard
4) Mah-Ann Mendoza (Mah-Ann missed the lightweight class, the class she was aiming for, by a pound-and-a-half)
3) Brenda Raganot
2) Kim Perez (who has an amazing, tiny waist -- if she were an hourglass the sand would get stuck; check out the pics from prejudging on flexonline.com)
1) Heather Policky

Lightweight:
5) Angela Debatin
4) Gayle Moher
3) Vicki Nixon
2) Cathy Lefrancois
1) Antoinette Norman

Sacramento Pro Prejudging

Here we are, live from downtown Sacramento, California for the 2007 Sacramento Pro.

The 17 competitors are going through their individual posing in front of the judges; thus far Toney Freeman and Silvio Samuel are the standouts.

Ahmad Haidar, Marcus Haley, and Hidetada Yamagishi also look very good, should be in the esrly callout.

First callout: Toney Freeman, Ahmad Haidar, Silvio Samuel, Hidetada Yamagishi, Marcus Haley.

Toney's not as tight as he was last week in his Ironman win; meanwhile, Marcus is improved, and Silvio, Hide and Ahmad are all at least as good as last week (when all three were overlooked by the judges, although Silvio did punch his Olympia ticket by finishing fourth.

Toney was sent back in line, and Omar Deckard took his place. Good sign for Toney, as that may mean the judges have him as an easy first.

If Toney and Silvio are 1 and 2, I personally would say Ahmad would take third -- Hide looks great, but Ahmad has better proportion and shape.

Next callout: Moe Elmoussawi, Kris Dim, Rusty Jeffers, Joel Stubbs, Omar Deckard, Daniele Secarreci. Omar's probably slipping down a bit, he's not as tight as he needs to be. Joel definitely isn't as tight as last week. Of this group, Dim, Jeffers and Omar are the strongest, with maybe Dim a slight leader.

Next up, Rod Ketchens, Aiman Faour, Eryk Bui, Roc Shabazz, Sergey Shelestov and Clifton Torres. No real controversy this week; no one is being overlooked like what happened at the Ironman. The guys who deserved a comparison with the top group got it.

Toney, Silvio, Haidar, and Marcus Haley and Hidetada come out for another comparison. That's definitely our top five, although the order is still a little up in the air. Silvio is most definitely hanging with Toney, although it's hard to tell if the judges see it as close or not. Silvio is absolutely harder than Toney right now, and Toney's midsection isn't as strong as it can be.

Toney and Silvio were sent back in line. Ahmad, Hide and Marcus stay out, and Moe Elmoussawi and Dim join them. This is a good callout, Moe and Dim deserve the shot to compare their way in to the top five. Head judge Steve Weinberger is doing a good job making sure there wasn't a repeat of last week, when only seven comparisons were done during Ironman prejudging.

Next, Moe, Omar, Stubbs, Dim, Rusty, Danielle are up for comparison. By leaving Dim and Moe out there, they're giving the other guys the opportunity to move up. I'm impressed with these callouts, the competitors work hard and they deserve these chances to be seen next to the guys they're fighting for spots.

Next, Sergey, Shabazz, Bui, Faour, Ketchens, and Torres.

It should be mentioned, there is an important battle brewing. With Toney and Silvio likely top two, that leaves two open Olympia qualifying spots (3rd and in this case 4th since Toney and Silvio are already qualified). Haley's qualified too, but Haidar and Hidetada are not, and thus really need to get into that top four. Both are deserving of an O invite, but only one may get it here.

And that's it for prejudging. Finals start at 6:30 p.m. tonight Pacific Time in the Crest Theater, downtown Sacramento. If you're in the area, tickets are still available, so come on out!

-MB

February 17, 2007

Ironman Prejudging Analysis

With prejudging just about over for Ironman, it looks like Toney Freeman may be crowned the champion come tonight, with a battle shaping up for the 2-5 slots, which this year are all Olympia qualification berths.

Final callout, Freeman, Dugdale, Eddie Abbew, which means they're top three right now.

David Henry, Omark Deckard, Silvio Samuel and Marcus Haley are most likely fighting for the 4 and 5 spots. Hidetada and Haidar are undeservedly on the outside looking in.

One more judge request for a comparison, David Henry, Haley, and Silvio.

All in all, the top 10 looks like it could be ripe for argument when the final results are announced tonight.

Ironman Comparisons, Prejudging

First, Joel Stubbs comes out, from the Bahamas. He's not on the original competitor list, but must be a last minute addition. This guy has become infamous for his back, and he's trying to bring the rest of his body up to those proportions. So we have 25 competitors total in the Ironman.

Ironman Comparisons, Prejudging

First, Joel Stubbs comes out, from the Bahamas. He's not on the original competitor list, but must be a last minute addition. This guy has become infamous for his back, and he's trying to bring the rest of his body up to those proportions. So we have 25 competitors total in the Ironman.

Now, we get to the heart of the show, the prejudging comparisons. We'll soon have a very good indication who's competing for the top spot. Toney, Silvio and Ahmad were standouts through comparisons. Hidetada should get a look for top five as well.

Right now they're running through group comparisons, then we'll get to the all-important first callout.

First callout is David Henry, Marcus Haley, Eddie Abbew, Toney Freeman, Mark Dugdale, and Silvio Samuel. Ahmad and Hidetada should be in there ... judges are in error on that. So far, you have to think Toney's going to win it.

Toney's probably deservedly in the lead, but the top five spots are key, as they are Olympia spots. So overlooking a guy is critical.

The second callout is Hidetada, Omar, Ahmad Haidar, and Joel Stubbs. Ahmad looks great, but the judges don't often reward symmetry and proportion. Hidetada is solid in this group, but his structure isn't quite perfect. Still, they should be fighting for Olympia berths...hopefully they get a callout with some of the first callout participants, but that would be a surprise ... judging doesn't always go like that, and fair looks are sometimes hard to come by.

Third callout, Kris Dim, Danielle Secarecci, Moe Elmousauwi, Roc Shabazz. They're completely overlooking Shelestov. That's an oversight. Not that Sergey should win, but the guys who have taken the stage thus far are vying for top 10, and that's an important watermark for a pro. Give the guy a look!

Finally, Sergey comes on, with Kjellstrom, Bui, Jason Arntz, and Aiman.

Ketchens, McGrath, Mazzotta, Torres, Zittucro now take the callout in a battle to not be in last place.

Ironman Prejudging, February 17 10 a.m.

Prejudging is about to start to kick off the 2007 competitive season.

24 competitors in all, Luke Wood has withdrawn due to illness.

First competitor to hit the stage in Round 1 is Eddie Abbew from England. Looks good, tight.

Competitor number 2 (they are coming out in alphabetical order) is Jason Arntz. He last competed at the Atlantic City Pro in 2006, where he finished seventh.

Eryk Bui is third out; coming off a disappointing 2006, where he competed three times, his best finish being eighth at this show last year.

Omar Deckard is next in his pro debut. Too much oil, not at the same shape he was at USAs. Good biceps peaks. Will be a good learning experience his first pro show out, he's bound to get better.

A top five finisher from last year, Kris Dim is up next. Still struggling to bring his legs up after his knee injury. Will be tough to repeat 2006 showing here, but it's hard to tell until we see the comparisons, who's in shape and who's not. His back is thicker, he's made improvements there.

Dugdale takes the stage. His quads are feathered and shredded. Last here, he was fifth here, then had to withdraw from the Arnold Classic due to a sudden illness. Hopeing for a better start to 2007. Overall, he needs to be a shade sharper. He told us last night he's attempting to peak for the Arnold, so he does know he's not at his absolute best here. Still, may be enough for a good showing.

Moe Elmoussaoui is up next. His arms are freakin' incredible. It'll be interesting to see him in comparisons. Got the biggest ovation thus far.

Aiman Faour is up next; he and Moe certainly have a lot of vowels locked up between them, with Moe getting the nod. Aiman likely won't make the top 10.

Toney Freeman, a big favorite coming in because of his performances last year (including one contest win). He's pretty tight, and he should be top three at least, although it's hard to know more until we see everyone.

Ahmad Haidar is next. He's hard and should be in the mix for the top five. Often overlooked, likely because of his overall balance, as nothing stands out from the whole (which, actually, is what bodybuilding's supposed to be about). Last year, he was ninth at the Ironman, should better that.

Marcus Haley takes the stage.. Looks okay, probably not going to vie for the top spot, but maybe top 10.

David Henry, who finished second last year (controversially, as many, including this pundit, think he should have won), is out now. Not quite as sharp as the Henry we've come to expect.

Rusty Jeffers comes out, and hits the vaccuum -- nice, it's a shame more pros can't do that one. Not as sharp as he could be, he's definitely been better. Last year, he competed once, in the Masters Pro World, finishing eighth, although he should have finished much higher there. Today probably won't be his day.

Rod Ketchens is next. Isn't crisp enough, and is still battling for symmetry in his physique.

Martin Kjellstrom is up. From Sweden, he competed three times in the IFBB in 2006, His best finish was last year's Ironman, where he was 12th. Probably won't crack the top 10 this year.

Canada's Frank McGrath is out to center stage. He's got some potential, although he doesn't have enough yet to compete for a top spot yet.

Italy's Francesco Mazzotta is out. Has a very strange tan color, not quite enough oil, although in any case, he doesn't have enough firepower to compete at a high levels in the IFBB ranks.

Silvio Samuel of Spain comes out. He's got a solid shape and proportion to his physiique. His legs are awesome. In the past, he's come in a little soft, but this time that's not a problem. He should be in the running for top five, if not higher.

Daniele Seccarecci from Italy takes the stage, continuing the international run. He's got a lot of size and muscle mass, but likely won't make top 10.

Roc Shabazz from Atlanta comes out. A great guy, but not quite enough yet to vie for the upper tier of these mid-level contests. He'll get there.

Sergey Shelestov from Russia making his first appearance on a US stage. He was third in Romania during the post-Olympia European Grand Prix last year. Still not quite ready to do battle with the big boys here, but plenty of potential is there. He's hard and has some outstanding bodyparts.

Clifton Torres, a long-time bantamweight and lightweight competitor, is up. Not nearly hard enough to make an impact here.

Hidetada Yamagishi from Japan is out. He's made a ton of improvements in 12 months, and he was already pretty good last year. He's a solid bodybuilder who should get more attention. He deserves a top 10 slot.

Fabrizio Zittucro rounds out the lineup. Not gonna happen for Fabrizio, he'll be outside the top 15.