“The Mutant” is hungry for an additional Arnold Classic title.
Nick “The Mutant” Walker wasn’t at all times a hulking phenom — one in every of fashionable bodybuilding’s high rivals. Then he received the 2021 Arnold Classic (AC) throughout his International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League rookie yr, and he’s seemingly solely change into extra excessive profile by the day ever since. A fifth-place outcome on the 2021 Mr. Olympia was a becoming cherry on high for an athlete who appeared like the subsequent massive factor within the sport. Now, after a podium efficiency on the 2022 Mr. Olympia, Walker can be losing no time getting again on the mass warpath. He’ll return to a few of his roots to do it.
On Jan. 12, 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival revealed that Walker would compete on the 2023 version of the Arnold Classic. The contest is presently scheduled for Mar. 2-5, 2023, in Columbus, OH, the place, unsurprisingly, a number of different established superstars already plan to assemble. A stacked subject possible received’t intimidate Walker, who appears to be on a decided mission to make it two vaunted AC titles in three years.
Walker’s AC return announcement got here shortly after the Arnold Sports Festival introduced that this yr’s first-place prize cash could be upped to $300,000 for the Men’s Open winner. That compensation is sort of thrice Walker’s victory winnings of $130,000 in 2021, partly signifying the super speedy progress of the competitors and its significance.
In a fast submit on his Instagram, Walker tersely however effectively elaborated on the information of his return to the AC. He shared an image from his successful efficiency on the 2021 iteration with a caption of “run it back,” with apparent intentions of overcoming his elite friends on the Columbus, OH, stage once more.
Walker will face no scarcity of worthy challengers to etch his title because the Arnold Classic winner for the second time in three years.
For instance, two-time winner William Bonac will search his third profession AC crown (2018, 2022), a feat solely 4 different bodybuilders have achieved within the contest’s 33-year historical past. At the identical time, a more recent ascending star like Samson Dauda may even be vying for the momentous championship. Other notable confirmed names up to now embody Kamal Elgargni and Akim Williams.
Notably, a gaggle of relative newcomers in Derek Lunsford, Blessing Awodibu, and Michal “Križo” Križánek introduced plans to skip the tentpole contest. Each of the three athletes made a distinction that they’d desire to get some relaxation earlier than focusing most of their efforts on an improved efficiency on the 2023 Olympia in November. Lunsford, particularly, because the 2022 runner-up in his Men’s Open debut, might need probably the most practical probability of reaching these lofty objectives.
At the time of this text’s publication, it's unclear if one other two-time AC victor (2019, 2022) and the reigning champion, Brandon Curry, will come again to defend his title.
The 2023 Arnold Classic is already shaping as much as be a battlefield if bulletins like Walker’s anticipated look imply something. With the brand new yr up and rolling, March’s competitors will possible be a memorable addition to bodybuilding lore.
Featured picture: @nick_walker39 on Instagram