The 24th edition of pro bodybuilding’s biggest party played out as expected on March 3 in Columbus, Ohio when Texan Branch Warren won his second consecutive Arnold Classic. Branch added his sixth most-muscular award at the show to go with the $140,000 purse.
“In 21 years this was the hardest show to prepare for after having suffered an injury,” Branch told the sold-out audience of nearly 4,000 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium after the contest. “I had slipped and torn my right knee but I promised I would be back.”
Germany’s Dennis Wolf proved he is back for good, easily nailing second place and the $75,000 prize. New York’s Evan Centopani came in third, followed by the surprise finish of Canadian Ben Pakulski, who continues to climb the ranks and is now Canada’s top bodybuilder. Three-time Arnold Classic champion Dexter Jackson finished fifth, while Frenchman Lionel Beyeke, fresh off his triumph at the Flex Pro in Los Angeles, placed sixth.