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There have been many people coming to this blog after searching for an answer as to why 5 time WSM winner Mariusz Pudzianowski was not competing this year. Back in March I wrote a post reporting that Pudzianowski would be concentrating on his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career instead. Mariusz won his first fight against Marcin Najman in December 2009, and then fought twice in May of 2010. Having 2 MMA fights in one month is unhheard of, gone are the days when people fought multiple times in a day like used to happen in UFC and PRIDE. His second MMA fight was on May 7th 2010 where he beat Yusuke Kawaguchi by unanimous decision at KSW XIII. Then, just 2 weeks later on May 21st, he fought and lost to former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia by submission to punches on round 2 at Moosin: God of Martial Arts in America.

Fast forward to September 2010 and this was when World’s Strongest Man 2010 was taking place in South Africa, but instead of taking part Mariusz Pudzianowski instead had a fight against Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch at KSW XIV. Butterbean made his name as Super Heavyweight boxer and even had a boxing match at WrestleMania 14 against Bart Gunn. Pudzianowski made short work of Esch, taking him down early in the first round and then making him submit from punches. However, it’s not as simple as that as many people are saying the fight was fixed and Esch was fed to Pudzianowski in a bid to raise his profile.

I’ll let you judge for yourself, watch and see what you think.

In the fights I’ve seen Esch involved he’s never been very good once on the floor, and he is getting on a bit. Despite having some early success against credible opponents, he’s been a bit of a freak show attraction in recent years. Whether Pudzianowski’s punches had enough power to make anyone submit has been the topic of many an argument in the MMA world, what do you think?

What is evident is the weight loss and muscle mass that has disappeared from Pudzianowski’s once Herculean frame. No doubt this was done to improve stamina but he’s hardly recognisable as the man who won World’s Strongest Man 5 times and thrilled the crowds with his feats of strength. If he were ever to compete in Strongman again, could he get back to the level he once was? I’d hazard a guess that he could, after all there are few that have ever trained as hard as Pudzianowski.

He doesn’t have another fight planned yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for any news, though ideally I would like him to return to the world of Strongman as I’d rather see him battling Savickas in the Farmers Walk than an old has been in an MMA ring.

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The Arnold Strongman Classic is something I first heard about when WWE wrestler Mark Henry won the inagrual event in 2002 and it was then talked about ad nauseum on WWE programming. I’ve never seen any of the events, I’ve either not seen them advertised or they have not been televised, as is the case with this year’s event. It’s a yearly event which is just of the many sports that make up the Arnold Sports Festival.

This promo video shows a few clips from the event and if I’m honest it looks fantastic. The events aren’t a carbon copy of the events you see in World’s Strongest Man and look immense – just look at the sheer size of the Tire Deadlift! No Atlas Stones either but there is an event called the Manhood Stones, which has a name just oozing with testosterone. The official description of this event from the official website is:

Contestants lift round stones weighing approximately 533 pounds (242 kg) and 452 pounds (205 kg) over a bar approximately 49 inches high as many times as possible in 60 seconds. Contestants who can lift the heaviest stone will not have to attempt the lighter stone because one rep of the heavier stone will beat any number of reps of the lighter stone.

The line up for the Arnold Strongman Classic 2010 is incredible and involves 6 of the 10 finalists from the World’s Strongest Man 2009, including the winner Zydrunas Savickas. Speaking of Big Z, he is the man to beat at this event as he won it every year from 2003 to 2008. He didn’t win it in 2009 because he didn’t compete, and the 2009 Arnold Strongman Classic was won by Derek Poundstone. The full list of competitors is as follows:

Nick Best
Kostiantyn Ilin
Mikhail “Misha” Koklyaev
Travis Ortmayer
Dave Ostlund
Phil Pfister
Derek Poundstone
Zydrunas Savickas
Brian Siders
Brian Shaw

Of interest to us in the UK is that the first alternate is Mark Felix, who is also competing in the Mighty Mitts contest.

Though I’ve not heard of Mikhail “Misha” Koklyaev, the guys who run the Arnold Sports Festival Facebook page tell me he is a force to be reckoned with, and after finishing 2nd and 3rd in 2008 and 2009 respectively, who am I to argue?

I’m just hoping that I’ll be able to see it somehow, maybe via downloadable content or a future DVD release – either way it’s an event, with an awesome line up that I want and need to see. If you too want to see the Arnold Strongman Classic 2010 but don’t have access, then let them know – maybe if there’s enough demand footage will be made available.

The Arnold Strongman Classic runs from 5th – 7th March and all information can be found here.

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The long awaited and much anticipated brand new World’s Stongest Man website has been launched! Not only does it look good but it’s packed full of information and some awesome galleries from the last decade of World’s Stongest Man competitions.

World's Strongest Website?

World's Strongest Website?

One of the most exciting pieces of news which has been posted here is the complete, subject to change, lineup for this year’s competition which reads as follows:

Mariusz Pudzianowski – Poland
Jarek Dymek – Poland
Alexander Klyushchev – Russia
Richard Skog – Norway
Mark Felix – UK
Stefan Solvi Petersson – Iceland
Travis Ortmayer – USA
Derek Poundstone – USA
Brian Shaw – USA
Phil Pfister – USA
Kevin Nee – USA
Zydrunas Savickas – Lithuania
Jimmy Laureys – Belgium
Terry Hollands – UK
Jimmy Marku – UK
Laurence Shahlaei – UK
Darren Sadler – UK
Sebastian Wenta – Poland
Johannes Arsjo – Sweden
Martin Wildauer – Austria
Dave Ostlund – USA
Marshall White – USA
Agris Kazelniks – Latvia
Andrus Muremets – Estonia
Konstantin Ilyin – Ukraine
Florian Trimpl – German
Ettiene Smitt – South Africa
Ervin Catona – Serbia
Christian Savoie – Canada

Reserves
Tarmo Mitt – Estonia
Simon Sulaiman – Netherlands / Syria

Obviously this just the list of people that will appear in the qualifiers and then only 10 will go through to the finals. Great showing from the Brits with 5 entrants, and it’s good to see ‘Big’ Terry Hollands in that list – always a great competitor. One name that does shock me is Tarmo Mitt, how is this guy just a reserve?

It’s a shame that we still don’t have Vasyl Virastyuk returning to World’s Strongest Man and I’m sad not to see the inclusion of Magnus Samuelsson. The one-time winner did say he was going to retire after last year’s after event but he was such a comolourful personality that he’ll be missed by many.

There’s also now a World’s Strongest Man Store with lots of hoodies, t-shirts and also the fantastic World’s Strongest Man – 30 Years of Pain DVD which I reveiwed here. My favourite item is this nice looking 2009 Event Hoody:

World's Strongest Hoody?

World's Strongest Hoody?

One section of the website announces something which will no doubt create much discussion among World’s Stongest Man fans the world over – The Official World’s Strongest Man Hall of Fame. Being totally unpatriotic I voted for Jón Páll Sigmarsson, what about you?

It’s nice to finally have a decent website for The World’s Stongest Man which has a nice lot of content and looks like it will be kept up to date with recent news. Us fans deserved this for years, and now we have it!

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First off, apologies for the lack of posts – the Formula 1 season started and I decided to start a new blog for that as Formula 1 posts were taking over at A Little Less Geek. Unfortunately I got so wrapped up in the new blog (McLaren Fan Blog) that I neglected this one! To make matters worse I have just started a 3rd blog which can be seen here: The Beach Boys Discography Project. I promise, more posts on Less Geek from now on though – so much going on so it’d be rude not to!

Ever since I was a little boy I used to watch The World’s Strongest Man (WSM) with my Dad as an annual tradition around Christmas/New Year. I started as a Geoff Capes fan and cheered him in his battles against the mighty Bill Kazmaier and Jon Pall Sigmarsson (Viking Power!). In the mid 90s I was a fan of Manfred Hoeberl and his freakishly large arms, though it was Magnus Ver Magnusson who dominated that decade! In the 2000s I relied on my half Polish bloodline to get behind ‘The Dominator’ Mariusz Pudzianowski who has just last year broken the previous record of 4 WSM wins (set by Icelanders Jon Pall Sigmarsson and Magnus Ver Magnusson) to become the only man to ever win 5 WSM competitions, and there may be more to come!

Around the time of the latest WSM they showed a documentary on TV called ’30 Years of Pain’ which was a look back at the history of WSM and the extraordinary competitors involved. I’ve watched it 3 times so far, as a longtime fan of WSM I found it utterly fascinating. Just yesterday I was pointed in the direction of the trailer for what I know now is the DVD of the aforementioned documentary, with extra bonus footage that I didn’t see on TV, AND the making of World’s Strongest Man! Go back to January and I was trawling Amazon looking for WSM DVDs so news of this DVD is awesome news for me, and any WSM fans out there! It’ll be out on June 1st according to the trailer, so not long to wait. I’ll be picking one up for both my Dad and myself – nostalgia central! I just hope there are more WSM DVDs to come.

Here is said trailer on Youtube:

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