The IFBB Pro League will welcome the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest next month on November 2-5 in Orlando, Florida. With a stacked Men’s Open lineup expected to compete, Samir Bannout took to a recent Rumble video published on October 5, 2023, to discuss some of his frontrunners and dark horses.
In the 1970s and 80s, Samir Bannout built a reputation for himself in the Open with a grueling gym pace and a sculpted back. Having tested his resolve against legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Dickerson, and Frank Zane, Bannout may have retired but carries with him one of the best minds in the sport.
Last December, the 2022 Mr. Olympia results shook the world with Hadi Choopan emerging as the new titleholder. Former kingpin Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay was unseated as champion, and to the surprise of his fans, decided recently to bow out of the nearing 2023 Mr. Olympia competition.
Despite Ramy’s absence, there are a number of Men’s Open Bodybuilders who still intend to ruin Choopan’s plans. With competitors stepping on stage soon, Bannout assessed their chances of earning gold or a top-five spot below:
Samir Bannout Talks 2023 Mr. Olympia, Breaks Down Top Contenders
According to Bannout, he is still backing Derek Lunsford to win the 2023 Mr. Olympia title.
“He said [Ronnie Coleman], ‘I have to go with Derek.’ Yeah, I still think Derek Lunsford has the advantage. Again, let’s not say Samson – Samson is very dangerous but let’s hope Samson can peak properly. I always worry about the peaking plans, the modern peaking plans, getting that body that really paper thin skin. I think Hany Rambod he understands peaking properly and whatever he does he’s doing a hell of a job of drying out the athletes and showing high quality.”
Bannout’s Top 3 Finishers for 2023 Olympia
I have to go with Derek and then Hadi Choopan and perhaps we have who else Samson and Nick Walker – I mean Nick Walker I saw a couple of photos and he seemed to be pretty good even now. So, I would like to see Nick Walker also improve his presentation. You should never be satisfied, ‘Oh, yeah I did good,’ show more of what you have, what you worked hard for this year. I can see Nick right up there too.”“Look at the quality [of Nick Walker]. Impressive. Huge guy. Well, evidently, his coach is doing a good job with him. He’s a hard worker staying on the same page with someone intelligent and you can see the muscle quality is more like old school looking muscle.”
- Winner — Derek Lunsford
- Second Place — Hadi Choopan
- Third Place — Samson Dauda/Nick Walker
Next, Bannout opened up about Regan Grimes’ posing skills and potential chances against the best next month.
“Regan is an incredible bodybuilder but I still see certain things that he needs to work on. The posing is still very amateur, it’s not a professional John. From my perspective. Then, I always elaborate about posing: when you’re at that level of competitiveness you’ve got to be more professional and showing it. Even Nathan was in really good shape. I think he can still improve in that department. I don’t think these guys are putting so much emphasis on presentation,” added Samir Bannout.“You look at the physique of Regan — beautiful. He’s complete! But that pose, I disagree with it [front double biceps] I see a lot of flaws.”“I’m really surprised that if he’s with Milos I mean Milos has extensive experience. They really need to apply the art of flexing and from my perspective, and again, no disrespect, I don’t like the way he [Regan Grimes] is showing his body.”
“Let’s put it this way: if I stood like that [split legs in front lat spread] in my Mr. Olympia win, I wouldn’t have won. I’m being honest. If you pose like a funky chicken it’s not going – you’re not going to deliver the message the way it should have been.”“If Regan comes in prepared and he poses properly, he’ll make the top five.”
Even though Krizanek lacks posing refinement and presentation, Samir Bannout can’t say enough about his muscle quality.
“I’m going to go back and talk about Krizo. How many times I talk about Krizo? It already cost me enough money on sushi. But you know, Krizo… John, really. I’m impressed by his quality and his size that he has. But Krizo… also another horrible poser. I want to say it like that. I love his body. His presentation is also maybe a six.”
As for Hunter Labrada, Bannout believes he made significant improvements, but said he hindered his momentum after losing to Andrew Jacked at the 2023 Texas Pro.
“Hunter has improved a lot. Hunter has improved a lot in his presentation. He has listened to his dad a little bit more now,” said Samir Bannout.Andrew Jacked beat him. Remember, Hunter two years ago he was ahead of Nick Walker. About three years ago. So Hunter is also capable. I think Hunter should focus more on quality, which we saw him, we were sitting next to each other in Tampa, he looked very impressive and he won.”“It was a big mistake for him to compete and lose his last show. Because he would have gone to the Olympia more on the winning side.”
“I have no idea [why Ramy pulled out]. Hopefully, it’s not health-related,” shared Bannout. “I guess his coaches between Chad Nicholls and Dennis James, you know, I think both of them are his main advisors right now. So maybe they see that it would be in his best interest to rest a year. But I don’t think he retired.”