By Frank Hoffmann
With the New York Pro less than one week away, we’re about one third of the way through this bodybuilding season. That being said, we have yet to see the mega stars of this sport reveal themselves. Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, Dennis Wolf, Branch Warren and Kai Greene are concentrating on one show and one show only – the Mr. Olympia. But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when they too were scratching and clawing their way up the IFBB rankings, competing in three or four shows a year just to qualify for the Olympia. In fact, Kai Greene made his pro debut at the New York Pro back in 2005 where he finished in 14th place. Flash forward eight years and today he’s a threat to take the Olympia crown every year. As great as these bodybuilders are, (save for Phil Heath who will rule the IFBB for the remainder of this decade) their reign as the top dogs will end one day and it will be up to the young up-and-comers to take their place. But who will it be? Here are my top five pro’s who I think will eventually, or have already started to, carry the weight of this sport into the future.
Evan burst onto the IFBB scene by winning his pro debut, the 2009 New Your Pro, then winning the 2011 Flex Pro Show. His success on stage however, does not compare to the potential that Centopani has to become an all-time great. Myself, and most bodybuilding insiders, expect him to be an Olympia contender within the next year or two.
Cedric has one of those classic physiques that even the most casual bodybuilding fan can appreciate. His first pro show was the 2010 Europa Super Show where he finished in fourth but he’s since won 3 shows in his young career, including this year’s FIBO Power Germany. Cedric has the symmetry and personality that draws fans in by the hordes and if he can just learn to dial it in, the wins will start piling up.
Brandon Curry ruled the NPC for years and came into the IFBB in 2010 with tons of momentum and hype. Unfortunately, nothing really panned out for “The Prodigy” and he started to become irrelevant. All of that changed at this year’s Arnold Classic Brazil where he took the top spot against a strong line-up. Curry has finally put it all together and it will be exciting to see if he can continue to make gains and win shows.
Kuclo is still in his 20’s and only has one pro show under his belt, but his physique is one for the ages. Personally, he is one of my favorite bodybuilders because he is perfectly balanced with no overpowering, or underdeveloped, body parts. Kuclo is a full-time firefighter with the type of personality that this sport needs to attract new fans. Expect big things from Kuclo!
Lionel Beyeke shocked the bodybuilding world in 2012 by winning the Flex Pro ahead of contest favorite, Ben Pakulski. Lionel faded from show to show for the remainder of the year but I think he has the potential to be a threat. When he’s in condition, Lionel Beyeke’s physique resembles that of a more aesthetic Kai Greene and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a household name.
There you have it, my top 5. I could have easily made this a top ten list but I want to hear your thoughts. Who do you think will be the next big name to carry the sport of bodybuilding into the future?
Frank Hoffmann is a former NCAA and Professional CFL football player from Toronto, whose passion for health and fitness stems from his years as a personal trainer. Frank works as a freelance fitness and lifestyle writer while holding down a nine to five job and believes having a full-time job is no excuse to not be fit. Check out his fitness blog at Nine2Fit.tumblr.com and follow him on Twitter at @Nine2Fit.