With only six weeks until the sport’s biggest event of the year, competitors in the IFBB Pro League are feeling the pressure. In a recent video published to YouTube on September 19, athletes rep Bob Cicherillo assessed the 2023 Mr. Olympia-winning potential of Nathan De Asha and Regan Grimes.
De Asha’s road to this year’s Mr. Olympia competition was cluttered with setbacks and adversity. He was forced into taking a one-year hiatus following two consecutive bicep tears. With time to focus on rest and recovery, De Asha brought a refreshing look in his return at the 2023 Flex Weekend Pro in Milan, Italy. Not only did De Asha secure his qualification for Olympia, but he outpointed frontrunners Regan Grimes and Roman Fritz on his way to gold.
Tightening and tweaking the package he found success with, De Asha attempted to go 2-0 in 2023 a few days ago at the Europa Pro Championships. And while the Englishman’s muscle hardness and leg separation stood out; Grimes avenged his defeat and won the show to De Asha’s chagrin. Visibly distraught after the results were announced, De Asha and his fans condemned Grimes’ win and called it a robbery.
There have been changes to the Olympia Qualification Rules. The IFBB shelved the point system, making it more challenging for bodybuilders to ensure their spot on the 2023 Mr. Olympia stage, but that didn’t stop Nathan De Asha and Regan Grimes from punching their respective tickets. Considering they are both 2023 Olympia-bound, Bob Cicherillo assessed their chances in November.
Bob Cicherillo Recaps Regan Grimes’ Controversial Win in Spain, Talks 2023 Mr. Olympia and Nathan De Asha
Bob Cicherillo revealed the Europa Pro Championships was one of the last opportunities for Men’s Open class talent to qualify. He specified that the final Men’s Open qualifier of the year will take place October 7-8 at the 2023 Legion Sports Fest Pro in Reno, Nevada.
“Regan Grimes just this past week avenged his loss to Nathan De Asha just a week before in Italy. And he comes out on top this time at the Europa, that was the show in Spain. We’re getting down there everybody. There is only one qualifier left if I’m not mistaken and that of course is Chris Minnis’ show in Reno, the Legion show, a great competition for anybody that’s out in that area.
Big Expo, superhero-themed, Chris does a great job. That’s the last chance saloon man. If you remember last year, it was Regan and Sergio that came up short, no pun intended. I guess the Giant Killer Shaun Clarida, he bested both of them to win the Open division. Shaun firmly back in the 212 he’s going to make that run at keeping the title.”
Despite the controversy surrounding Grimes’ victory in Spain, Cicherillo believes the outcome of the show could have gone either way. Cicherillo added that if Grimes wants to find success at 2023 Mr. Olympia, he needs to display conditioning at “100%.”
“Regan… I got to be honest folks. I’ve been touting him for about two years now, but I was a little concerned about what we saw in Italy and in Spain personally. I’m just looking at pictures okay? I wasn’t there. You guys know how I am about that stuff, you gotta be there in person. Yes you do! Big difference in what you’re looking at.
But from what I saw, and my seat at home – my video and the pictures that I’ve seen… I don’t know. I think you could have flipped a coin either way. I really didn’t have a problem with Regan winning, I wouldn’t have any problem with Nathan winning — either show. But here’s the bottom line: we haven’t seen Regan hit 100% yet. He’s going to have to get close.”
Similar to his teammate Samson Dauda, Cicherillo says he’s never seen Grimes with top-tier conditioning levels. With contenders like “The Nigerian Lion,” Nick Walker, and Brandon Curry waiting in the wings, Cicherillo expects Hadi Choopan to be tested like never before.
“If he shows up at the Olympia like you just saw him in Italy and/or Spain, he’s going to be fighting to get in the top 10, alright? That’s a big departure because this is a kid I have a lot of hope for. He could be a future great but he’s got to bring that conditioning in. Much like Samson Dauda.”
“Great physique but if you’re at 90% and that’s what Samson was last year… you’re in sixth place. It’s the Olympia folks. This is it. Hadi Choopan, Brandon Curry, Nick Walker, Andrew Jacked, these guys, Hunter Labrada, Derek Lunsford, listen: Derek Lunsford, has anyone seen the videos of Derek Lunsford? I’ll tell you what man, Hadi has got his hands full.
Derek Lunsford looks great. Samson looks great, big as a house. But you’ve got to bring that kind of conditioning, or you’re going to be on the outside looking in. It’s too tight at the top. So Regan — I know you’re working with Milos, I know you guys are kind of working with bringing 100%, you’ve got to come in tighter my brother,” shared Bob Cicherillo.
Even though Nathan De Asha has enjoyed a resounding bounce-back season, Cicherillo isn’t sold on his championship potential. He suspects De Asha will be “working into that second call out” on the 2023 Mr. Olympia stage.
“You’ve got to give hats off to Nathan man. He’s a smart bodybuilder. He picks the right shows. And I believe he notched his 10th win with that win in Italy and just missed out on number 11 here in Spain. So, good for you Nathan. Nathan is going to be working into that second call out [at 2023 Olympia] my guess. But I’ll tell you what, this guy is an overachiever, he comes up when you’re not looking.”
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