Melvin Anthony Jr. wins the 2010 IFBB Phoenix Pro

February 20, 2010

By Zack Zeigler


Before claiming victory at the 2010 IFBB Phoenix Pro, Melvin Anthony Jr. hadn’t tasted success since September 18, 2008 at the Atlantic City Pro. During that lull there were both personal and professional letdowns, most notably a 4th place finish at the ’09 Atlantic City Pro and a tie for 11th at the ’09 Mr. Olympia.

With a “W” at the inaugural Phoenix Pro on Saturday night, Anthony did more than snuff out whispers that he’s lost it; he reassured the naysayers and those up-and-comers who were all too quick to hop in his spot among the IFBB’s elite that a slump doesn’t always equal the doom of a illustrious career.

“It wasn’t a matter of shutting people up, it was a matter of showing others who said some things about me and also showing myself that I”m still a champion and the fire is still there,” said Anthony. “I didn’t know if I could do it and I said, ‘If I don’t win, I quit.’ With that pressure, you train differently.”

Retribution for “The Marvelous One” didn’t come without help. IFBB powerhouses Dennis James and Dexter Jackson offered their support to help ensure Anthony would get back to his winning ways.

“It feels good to rally around people who know more than me and to show me things that I have never done — like change the way I eat and cook,” Anthony said. “That was a major part of what allowed me to win here tonight.”

The top three: Anthony, Hidetada Yamagishi (2nd), Toney Freeman (third) all earned early entry into the 2010 Olympia. Freeman had previously gained access to the O through a victory at the ’09 Sacramento Pro. Grigori Atoyan (4th) and Troy Alves (5th) rounded out the top five.

Anthony, Freeman, Yamagishi and , who also competed, are all slated to compete at the Arnold Classic on March 4-7 in Columbus, Ohio.

A first-place finish in the pros has evaded Roc Shabbaz — until now. In the 202 class, Shabazz’s dense back could have been the deciding factor in separating him from the runner-up, Sweden’s Ahmad Ahmad. Taking the bronze is a Bola Ojex. Rod Ketchens and Eric Castagnet placed fourth and fifth respectively.

“I couldn’t contain myself out there, the last time I had this feeling was winning the ’04 light-heavyweight title at the [NPC] Nationals. A lot of pros go their whole career without a win and I feel truly blessed tonight,” Shabazz said.

Mindi Smith’s first professional contest ended with a win on the figure stage. Smith, who earned her pro card by winning the overall at the ’09 NPC Nationals, bested Amy O’Neil, Rosa Maria Romero, Felicia Romero and Jodie Minear. With a three-show win streak, Smith now has the Figure International on her mind.

“I’m kind of on a roll now,” Smith said. “I’m going to celebrate tonight but I only have two weeks and the Arnold is very, very important so I can’t fall off the wagon at all.”

Romero will also compete in the Figure International.

In women’s bodybuilding, Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia can now add the 2010 Phoenix Pro to her collection of triumphs; she also won the ’05 Ms Olympia and ’02 and ’08 Ms International. Rounding out the top five in women’s bodybuilding were Betty Pariso, rookie Zoa Linsey, Jeannie Paparone and Dena Westerfield.

The two who battled it out at the ’09 Fitness Olympia — Tanji Johnson and Julie Palmer — again fought hard for the Phoenix title. In the end, Palmer brought it during prejudging and dazzled with her routine at the finals for the win. Johnson took silver while Camala Rodriguez took third, Oksana Grishina placed fourth and Bridgette Murray Ward landed in fifth.

“There’s not time to celebrate for me,” Palmer said. “The Arnold is my goal; I did some things with my routine tonight to test it and it’s definitely not the routine I’m doing at the Arnold.”

Click on names for photo galleries

1. Melvin Anthony Jr.
2. Hidetada Yamagishi
3. Toney Freeman
4. Grigori Atoyan
5. Troy Alves
6. Lionel Beyeke
7. Quincy Taylor
8. Alfonso Del Rio
9. Tarek Elsetouhi
10. Moe Bannout
11. John Sherman
12. Johnnie Jackson
13. Franklin Roberson
14. Michael Liberatore
15. Eddie Abbew
16. Adorthus Cherry
16. Andy Haman
16. Cesar Mendible
16. Constantinos Demetriou
16. Daniel Hill
16. DeShaun Grimez
16. Gus Carter
16. Heinz Senior
16. Oliver Adzievski
16. Omar Deckard
16. Rusty Jeffers
16. Stan Efferding
Men’s Bodybuilding Comparison Gallery

MEN’S 202
1. Roc Shabbaz
2. Ahmad Ahmad
3. Bola Ojex
4. Rod Ketchens
5. Eric Castagnet
Jose Javier Reynoso
Randy Jackson Sr.
Men’s 202 Comparison Gallery

1. Yaxeni Oriquen
2. Betty Pariso
3. Zoa Linsey
4. Jeannie Paparone
5. Dena Westerfield
Akila Pervis
Antoinette Thompson
Colette Nelson
Diana Stanback
Gayle Moher
Maria del Carmen Segura
Myriam Bustamante
Women’s Bodybuilding Comparison Gallery

1. Mindi Smith
2. Amy O’Neil
3. Rosa Maria Romero
4. Felicia Romero
5. Jodie Minear
6. Angela Teresky
7. Listy Allen
8. Linda Fodor
9. Crystal Chiles
10. Taylor Waldrop
11. Sabrina Taylor Gibson
12. Mendi Sakamoto
13. Ann Titone
14. Jaime Meade
15. Kathleen Tesori
16. Karen Mullarkey
17. Monica Mark Escalante
18. Chaundra Tanji
18. Debbie Patton
18. Jennifer Hernandez
18. Lydia Haskell
18. Lynn Cimmino
18. Tina White
Figure Comparison Gallery One Piece
Figure Comparison Gallery Two Piece

1. Julie Palmer
2. Tanji Johnson
3. Camala Rodriguez
4. Oksana Grishina
5. Bridgette Murray Ward
6. Nita Marquez
7. Yenny Polanco
8. Stefanie Bambrough
Fitness Comparison Gallery