Who to watch at the 2009 Ironman Pro

By Shawn Perine

January 19, 2009


In the days leading up to the first professional bodybuilding contest of 2009 we can state one thing with absolute assurance: we will have a brand new champ at the Ironman. With no returning defending champion, the question is: who will win the 20th anniversary edition of the Ironman Pro Championships?

First and foremost, there's Silvio Samuel. If Silvio shows up in anything close to his '08 Olympia shape, then this show is his to lose.

If there's one guy in the lineup who can keep Silvio from the title, it's the guy who placed a spot ahead of him last year - Moe Elmoussawi. Mo is looking to build upon 2008, in which he placed 3rd at the Ironman and top ten in his first ever Olympia appearance.

Johnnie Jackson is a perennial threat and if he brings the kind of conditioning we saw him display at the last two Atlantic City shows, he has the ability to win this show.

Since 2005 Ronny Rockel hasn't placed lower than 6th in the "smaller" shows like the Ironman, which favor his proportionate, thickly muscled physique.

In 2008, Troy Alves slipped to ninth at the Ironman and then a pair of 5th's in Australia and New Zealand for a disappointing season. But Troy's back and he says the long hiatus has left him feeling refreshed and re-energized.

Mark Dugdale very nearly won this show in 2007, taking second to Toney Freeman. When he nails his conditioning he's a threat to win it all. If he's off even a little though he loses his best weapon.

A torn quad kept Marcus Haley out of competition last year but he's healed and looking to regain the form that had him taking three top five finishes in his first two years as a pro.

Ahmad Haidar makes a return to the stage after a lengthy break from competition. His last contest was the 2007 Sacarmento Pro, where he finished 4th.

Hidetada Yamagishi is looking to get back into the Olympia after missing it last year.



Martin Kjellstrom is going to be the biggest guy in the show, but will bigger be better?

Evgeny Mishin is almost as big as Kjellstrom and has great proportions. It's time he gets noticed.

If DeShaun Grimez can ever nail his conditioning - really nail it - he's a top 5 threat.

Eddie Abbew may still have a good year of competing left in him, in which case another giant could end up near the top of the list.

Italy's Thomas Benagli has a great physique. Whether or not he'll get the attention he deserves is anyone's guess.


2009 Ironman Pro List of Competitors
Adorthus Cherry
Ahmad Haidar
Aiman Faour
Cesar Mendible-Baptista
Constantino Demetriou
Daniele Seccarecci
Daron Lytle
DeShaun Grimez
Don Long
Eddie Abbew
Evgeny Mishin
Hidetada Yamagishi
Johnnie Jackson
Marc LaVoie
Marcus Haley
Mark Dugdale
Martin Kjellstrom
Moe Elmoussawi
Mohammad Bannout
Oleg Empelyanov
Oliver Adzievski
Ronny Rockel
Rusty Jeffers
Silvio Samuel
Tamer El Shahat
Thomas Benagli
Troy Alves