King Kamali (Shahriar Kamali) has never shied away from being himself, even when voicing controversial opinions. However, this time, the bodybuilding veteran is discussing who might shock the world on the Mr. Olympia stage. In a recent Rx Muscle YouTube video shared on October 16, 2023, Kamali revealed his top contenders and dark horses expected to compete in less than three weeks, one of which was Brandon Curry.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, King Kamali cemented his name among the best in the Men’s Open division. With striated shoulders and a shelf-like chest, Kamali made appearances in prestigious shows such as the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic. In retirement, his analytical skills are held in high regard given his bodybuilding expertise.
Kamali, like the rest of us, could hardly believe his eyes following the 2022 Mr. Olympia show. The historic contest saw Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay nosedive from champion to fifth place. Instead, Iran’s Hadi Choopan wore gold that night and sent a message to the rest of the division that without top-tier conditioning, they wouldn’t stand a chance next year.
The time to step on the 2023 Mr. Olympia stage is almost here. While bodybuilding veterans have largely backed Derek Lunsford to come out on top next month, Kamali justified why it would be a mistake to count out former 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, who took fourth at the big event last season.
“People Can’t Sleep On This Guy” – King Kamali Backs Brandon Curry as a Top Title Threat at 2023 Olympia
Even though Curry has kept his prep low-key and off social media, Kamali says not to confuse that for weaknesses, emphasizing that at “100% he’s better than Hadi.”
“It’s just because he’s been quiet. That’s it. He’s just been quiet and people start to forget, unless you’re making noise and you’re putting up all these things on the internet and you’re active on social media, and he’s just been quiet. He’s the sleeper. I’ve been saying this.
I said this to Milos the other day, I said this to Chad, I’ve been saying this a lot: people can’t sleep on this guy. I will make a prediction right now… if — and again, I’m going back watching the prejudging, last year’s prejudging from a couple of days ago.
If Brandon is at 100% he’s better than Hadi. He was beating Hadi in a lot of those poses. I was looking at it. I was like wait and second. Let me compare these poses. He had better shape. He had bigger arms. He had a bigger back. It’s what Dave said. When he gets ultra-conditioned, his legs start to shrink and especially from the back shots. It just doesn’t look right. But I think he’s the sleeper. I really really think he’s the sleeper. So we’ll see.”
Kamali Questions Hunter Labrada’s Consistency, Says If He ‘Dries Out’ He Can Make Top 5
When assessing Hunter Labrada‘s chances next month, Kamali underlined that he’s “the least consistent guy on stage right now.” However, should he bring enough conditioning, Kamali could see him sliding into the top five.
“Consistency [is what Hunter Labrada needs]. He’s the least consistent guy on stage right now and he spills over. Constantly has a reputation of spilling over. I personally thought the liquid diet he was on had a lot to do with it and then from what I understand he’s changed that, he’s eating solid foods now and that’s probably why it’s making a little change in his physique. It’s going to take a little time. If he comes in more consistent and dries out, he has a great chance of cracking the top five.”
Kamali Discusses ‘Second-Tier’ Contenders for 2023 Mr. Olympia
Kamali says Regan Grimes, Nathan De Asha, and Michal Krizanek all have the potential to reach the second call-out.
“Regan and a rematch with Nathan. That would be the second group. So, Regan, Nathan, and maybe even Krizo but I don’t even — I’m afraid his wheels are not going to be there. I keep seeing his upper body videos on YouTube and people freaking out, but you know this is bodybuilding it’s not an upper body contest. That’s my second call-out.”
“I think he’s got that young pop. Okay. He’s got that pop and people are always interested in the new thing. What’s the new thing coming up? He will have that factor going for him but you gotta understand something man, this is the fucking Mr. Olympia.
Okay. This is the best of the best. These are the mutants of all the mutants, the top 1% of the 1%. I think that if he gets a call-out with the second-tier group that we were just discussing, that will be a win for him. A definite win for him,” King Kamali shared.
The 2023 Mr. Olympia contest is just days away, which means bodybuilding veterans from varying eras have offered their concrete predictions. Milos Sarcev (no surprise) is backing his student and 2023 Arnold Classic winner Samson Dauda to emerge victorious. Meanwhile, Dennis James, Jay Cutler, and Chris Cormier have gone on record in support of Derek Lunsford to win it all.
Competitors will wage war at the sport’s greatest showcase from November 2-5 in Orlando, Florida. Although Curry has kept his progress under wraps, should he present enough leg definition and fullness, he could follow in the footsteps of Cutler by regaining his Mr. Olympia title.