Two of the sport’s best coaches linked up for a special sit-down to discuss the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic. In the latest The Truth podcast, Hany Rambod and Milos Sarcev took a closer look at the direction of the Men’s Open division and some of the frontrunners expected to compete next month.
“Listen, going into this show, I said Andrew and Samson are my biggest favorites. This is who I want competing for the top two, for me,” Milos Sarcev shared.
After the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest took place last year, a new Open class hierarchy was established. In spite of the high expectations placed on Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay, he failed to deliver in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a result, he finished fifth place. Instead, Hadi Choopan was crowned the new Mr. Olympia after a close battle with Derek Lunsford.
Fans have begun to shift their focus to the 2023 Arnold Classic, taking place from March 2-5 in Columbus, Ohio. Initially, the lineup lacked zero top five 2022 Olympia finishers but a change in prize money fixed that problem. Andrew Jacked, Patrick Moore, Nick Walker, and Big Ramy entered the show aiming to secure the record $300,000 check.
Many consider Nick Walker the favorite in the weeks leading up to the show. However, Big Ramy hopes to shock the world and has utilized intravenous stem cell therapy to facilitate his return. With less than a month until the second-most important contest of the year, Sarcev and Rambod opened up on who might win the competition.
Hany Rambod and Milos Sarcev Discuss Men’s Open Division Changing, Posing Rounds
Rambod mentioned that bodybuilding weight classes are crafted with a specific look in mind.
“So if you have a weight class now in a pro show, i.e. Men’s Classic Physique, what they’re going to do is really judge the shoulder to waist because it keeps a cap on the weight. So, it’s trying to really define a look. With Open bodybuilding, it’s really about the overall mass but it’s also I think obviously this year there’s been a little bit of a change with Hadi and Derek taking one and two,” says Hany Rambod.
“But when you turn around and look about it. They’re really awarding Men’s Classic Physique similar to what you [Milos Sarcev] were a part of 20 or 30 years ago. I think that’s where the evolution has kind of branched out.”
Sarcev stressed that posing rounds should be scored at bodybuilding competitions. He argued that some of the most iconic poses in the sport performed by legends weren’t the eight mandatory poses often used by the Open class today.
“Think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, top five best posers. Not mandatories, twisted back, mantis pose. Frank Zane, Sergio Oliva…victory. We fall in love in bodybuilding looking at those pictures. That was the contest. To define right now as it is, we have eight mandatory poses, and this is who wins. It’s not who has the best body symmetrically, aesthetically, with mass and mandatories,” replied Milos Sarcev.
Sarcev and Hany Rambod Talk ‘Freak Factor’ of Nick Walker and Samson Dauda/Andrew Jacked Showdown
Given the potential of Andrew Jacked, Rambod isn’t counting him out ahead of the Arnold Classic.
“If he peaks, then everybody is going to be like wow. It could be that look, and then you obviously have Samson. This is the thing I’m interested in now because you’re such a fan of Samson’s physiques and just pretty physiques in general. What if Nick called you and said hey I want to work with you?” asks Rambod.
When asked if he would ever train Nick Walker, Sarcev had the following to say:
“I would say absolutely,” says Sarcev. “There was just some posing pointers [I tried to give him at 2022 Olympia] to try to give you the illusion of more aesthetics. You can do this in every pose if you master it. Hey look, he’s posing very very good.”
Sarcev says Dauda ‘Dominates’ Andrew Jacked at 2023 Arnold Classic With ‘Side Thickness’
While Milos believes Andrew can hold his own in a few poses, he doesn’t think he can hang with Samson Dauda from the side or back.
“More balance as far as thickness okay. Lower body, upper body thickness, legs, hamstrings, hanging, all that stuff. Just overall thickness. Andrew is wider. Wider structure. He has a crazy ability to look even more ripped than he is because he has those deep separations – crazy abs, beautiful beautiful.
Standing relaxed, yeah I could see Andrew beating Samson. Front lat spread I can see that too, even front double biceps but then they turn to the side, Samson dominates him – the thickness, roundness, the just brutal round chest, round shoulders hanging hamstrings. From the back, Samson still beats Andrew. Yeah, both [Samson beats him in back double biceps and rear lat spread]. It’s not a slam dunk,” says Milos Sarcev.
Rambod compared Nick Walker’s ‘freak factor’ to bodybuilding veteran Branch Warren’s.
“Listen, what Nick brings is a freak factor right. When he’s up on stage, he does have a freak factor. You can’t discount that either Milos,” Rambod said. “It’s a subjective thing. Bodybuilding is very subjective. Some people like blonds, some people like red heads, some people like brunettes.”
“Everyone is trying to chase this ultimate physiques but when you look at it, what judges look at I think are what’s eye popping. What’s going in, and I think when sometimes when people who don’t have the best shape win, it’s because that attention is drawn,” says Rambod. “Branch was the perfect example of that.”
Sarcev and Rambod aren’t the only bodybuilding gurus breaking down the Arnold Classic’s potential outcome. Chris Aceto, who recently started coaching Andrew Jacked, was confident that Andrew would be at his all-time best next month.
In addition, Jacked is working with Chris ‘Psycho’ Lewis – the late Shawn Rhoden’s former strength coach. He also spoke highly of Andrew’s chances and promised his back would be dramatically improved.
Given the surprising end to last year’s Olympia, many expect another unpredictable show in Columbus, Ohio. Following the discussion, Sarcev is confident the shape of Samson Dauda or Andrew Jacked will overwhelm Walker’s freakiness on stage next month.