American bodybuilder Carlos Thomas Jr. is one of the fastest-growing names in the fitness industry. He’s set to make his pro debut and has gained a ton of attention already. In a recent video uploaded on Olympia TV’s YouTube channel, Thomas Jr. backed himself to join the Mr. Olympia roster by defeating Hunter Labrada and Andrew Jacked at the upcoming 2023 Texas Pro.
Carlos Thomas Jr. first rose to prominence for his insane muscle mass, size, and symmetry after dominating the competition at the 2021 NPC National Championships. He emerged as one of the most promising prospects after his victory in the super heavyweight division and overall. The win earned him his pro card. However, he has been on the sidelines in preparation since.
Although Thomas Jr. intended to participate in the 2023 New York Pro, which concluded with Tonio Burton taking home the top prize two months ago, he was forced to pull out of the contest due to a major issue with his ulcer colitis. He did not let the setback hold him down and plans to finally make his highly anticipated pro debut at the upcoming 2023 Texas Pro.
There has been a surge in budding talent in the Men’s Open division over the last few years. Legacy competitor Hunter Labrada, son of Lee Labrada, established his place in the mix of title contention with a fourth-place finish in only his second Mr. Olympia appearance in 2021. He received a lot of praise for his jacked frame and posing skills going into the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Along with Labrada, rising sensation Andrew Jacked made waves with his aesthetic package. He turned in one of the best rookie seasons last year, scoring back-to-back gold medals at the 2022 Texas Pro and 2022 Arnold Classic UK.
In the end, Labrada missed the mark on the Olympia stage last December. He dropped out of the top six and settled for seventh place. As for Jacked, he turned in an impressive performance and cracked the top ten in his Mr. Olympia debut, finishing eighth.
Both competitors are on the hunt to secure their entry for the 2023 Mr. Olympia and will face Carlos Thomas Jr. at the nearing Texas Pro.
Carlos Thomas Jr. Confirmes He’ll Do 2023 Texas Pro
In a recent YouTube video, Carlos Thomas Jr. confirmed his plans to compete at the upcoming 2023 Texas Pro.
“Yes, I’m doing the Texas Pro,” said Thomas Jr. “Less than five weeks they’re going to see something that’s going to be brand new and it’s going to shock a lot of people. We’re going to be bringing some enthusiasm to the sport for the rest of the year.”
Thomas Jr. opened up on his reasons for pulling out of the New York Pro due to ulcer colitis.
“Issues we had going into New York with the ulcer colitis, that kind of put a damp on everything. We chose the show kind of far this out because I wanted to take things a little bit slower and make sure that I didn’t incur any flare-ups from the stress of trying to force the body to get ready. We were just kinda going like when it’s ready, it’s ready. So far, it’s been going in a smooth and consistent pace, barely any hiccups. That’s why we chose Texas because it was one of the ones that was farthest out and allowed us to make manipulations and not stress my body out.”
Thomas Jr. opened up about his struggles with heartburn in the past and argued he would’ve won the New York Pro if he competed.
“I used to get a lotta heartburn as a teenager and young adult so in my early 20s. But I’ve been on my gut health regimen for a while now making sure I’m taking my salad and meat, but I’m also doing aloe Vera juice, apple cider vinegar, mushroom root extract, lemon juice, things like that to help with the acidity of my stomach and help break down food. I haven’t been getting any heartburn now for a while.”
“Yeah, I think it’s a show I would have been able to win. I love my boy Tonio, Beef Stu, great guy, but I think bringing in the package that we’ll bring in coming into Texas, it would have been one that I could’ve easily won.”
Flex Wheeler, Bob Cicherillo & Olympia Judge Shower Praises on Thomas Jr. for his immense potential
Bodybuilding legend Flex Wheeler and IFBB Pro League athletes’ representative Bob Cicherillo lauded Carlos Thomas Jr. to be a top-five contender at the 2023 Mr. Olympia.
“Yep, if he nails the condition,” said Wheeler.
“Top 5? Absolutely! He’s going to have a chance to prove it because the front-runner, expected favorite as he should be coming up is Hunter Labrada. Everybody knows that. You’re going to take on a guy who’s been as high as fourth place in the Olympia. If Carlos can bring it and beat Hunter Labrada and knock him out of contention and put yourself in there, you got to be feeling really good about your chances of making that top six at the O.”
Thomas Jr. reacted to receiving praise from four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler.
“It’s still shocking to hear. He told me, ‘hey man, you have the potential to go all the way.; That to me was like blown away. I’m just always blown away even to hear you guys talk about me in this way. I still kind of see myself as a middleweight from back in 2017 so I’m always just humble and gracious.”
Cicherillo believes Carlos Thomas Jr. has everything it takes to become a superstar. Olympia judge Terrick El Guindy and Cicherillo both agreed his side chest post could stand with the best in the game.
“As we talk physiques, and Flex and I have been talking physiques for many many years, we’re always looking at the same first things,” said Cicherillo. “You’re looking at symmetry, proportion, and shape. He checks all those boxes. He ain’t missing nothing. You’re looking for muscularity and conditioning follows up, you got to have everything. Every box has to be checked. But we’re looking for the basics here. Does he have any weak points? Not really. Yes, the back needs to come up, gotta keep that midsection tight, the legs are tremendous. He’s got more quad sweep than anybody we’ve seen come along in a long long time. His back can be eeasily brought up. His thickness from the side can literally hang with anybody right now at the Olympia level. He checks every box to be a superstar. Now the only thing you got to do is actually do it okay.”
“That pose is incredibly. You can put it next to Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan and he looks incredible here,” said El Guindy.
Wheeler and Cicherillo debated whether Men’s Open now prefers shorter contenders over taller ones.
Wheeler: “It went back to a short men’s game. It’s not a tall guy’s game right now. Look at number one and number two in Mr. Olympia.”
Cicherillo: “Wait a minute. I’m going to challenge you on that one big time because you’ve got Samson and Jacked who are both big men coming up and I don’t know if it’s a short man’s game.”
El Guindy backed Thomas Jr. as the best amateur competitor of the last decade.
“In my opinion, he’s the best amateur we have seen in the last decade. He has the thickness and he has the front and side poses to go against some of the top Olympians. If his back is improved, we might just be seeing the future of bodybuilding.”
Thomas Jr. Says He’ll Beat Andrew Jacked & Hunter Labrada at 2023 Texas Pro, Will Take the Year Off Otherwise
Carlos Thomas Jr. explained why he’s confident he’ll beat Hunter Labrada at the show.
“Great physique and this dude is former top four. I feel like my side poses, I have the thickness from top to bottom thickness, hamstring, quads, that’s front to back, I’ll have everything that pose but better. From the front, I feel like I have a better taper, better legs. He has tremendous arms but I feel like my arms match up just as well. From the back, he may have more maturity but as far as muscle wise, I’ve picked that up as well. And conditioning, we’re going to be right on the money comparable. From the glutes and hams, I’ll be strong in that standpoint as well. Ab and thigh, I got that one too.”
He made the case for himself to beat Andrew Jacked at the event.
“He’s awesome but honestly, I remember seeing him at the Arnold. I was there in person. He looked great, tremendous. However, I do feel that in certain poses I just fare better. If we’re talking front double, he has a great front double, great taper but I feel like I have one just as well and I’m thicker than him in certain areas; my legs, my arms, I have better lat thickness. I honestly feel like my front lat spread would bode well against his. Mine is just a more complete pose from top to bottom.
“I really fill in a lot of gaps in that pose. You’ll barely see any. Then, same thing from the side, leg thickness, arm thickness, chest thickness, I feel like I bode well in all those shots. The back poses too, top to bottom, hamstrings, glutes, arms, and everything. I just honestly think that all these poses I just edge them out in certain areas such as in muscularity, symmetry, so I would bode well against them because their weaknesses are my strengths and if anything, you can toss them up one shot, the back double maybe.”
If Thomas Jr. doesn’t come out on top, he will likely take to the sidelines for the year.
“Yeah, I would probably shut it down most likely, I would say I’m about 85 percent sure. I’m no stranger to going back and doing the work.”
Fans will be excited to see Carlos Thomas Jr. inject some fresh blood into the Men’s Open class when he faces Andrew Jacked and Hunter Labrada on stage in less than five weeks at the 2023 Texas Pro.
You can watch the full video below.