In a shocking turn of events, bodybuilding sensation Mamdouh Elssbiay aka ‘Big Ramy’ made a last-minute entrance into this year’s IFBB New York Pro, and clearly the decision paid off as he took home the overall title once again. Ramy initially planned to compete in the event but many believed he pulled-out following a reportedly severe respiratory infection. In a shocking turn of events to the droves of bodybuilding fans, just a few days prior to the contest Ramy’s trainer Dennis James announced Ramy would be competing as originally scheduled, alongside some progress pictures (Where Ramy looked awesome as always.) Ramy was in suspiciously good condition during his guest posing at the Pittsburgh NPC contest with reigning Mr. Olympia Phil Heath, but had already reportedly pulled out the NYP and so it was a shock to many when the announcement came out that he would still be entering the contest, included to a few of his fellow IFBB Pros competing in the event as well. Because of the complications that were made public during Ramy’s prep there was some doubt and questions as to where he would place, and if he would be able to repeat last year’s feat, but as soon as Ramy stepped on stage those questions were answered and it quickly became competition for second place.
IFBB Pro’s Juan Morel, Jon Delarosa, and Lionel Beyeke came in second, third, and fourth respectively having a repeat performance of their placings at the Arnold Brazil just a few short weeks ago. Both Jon and Juan came with their signature grainy condition. While Juan had made significant improvements from last year, they were simply not enough to take out Ramy, whose lower body was dominant to Juan’s across the board. Jon made notable improvements as well, and though he struggled to keep up with top-tier pro level mass in the past, has done a great job of filling out his frame this year and has been rewarded accordingly.
Arguably the biggest disappointment of the show was Lionel Beyeke, and it was a pretty amazing looking ‘disappointment’ nonetheless. Lionel already earned a fourth place finish at the same contest years ago, and has made notable progress with his physique since then, so many would expect Lionel to be in the mix for the title and not rounding out the bottom of the placings. He came with classic round muscle bellies and in respectable shape, but not nearly as dominant as his performance in Brazil, while both Jon and Juan arguably made improvements during this same time. Though a disappointment of sorts for Beyeke, there is no respect lost for losing to the level of competitors that he did, one just has to hope this doesn’t indicate future trends.
Rounding out the top five was Max Charles, who took home the 5th place spot and reached a personally unprecedented level of conditioning, and so he was properly rewarded. As great as Max looked, one could argue that his potential is no better than that of Akim Williams who failed to place mostly due to lack of condition, but Akim’s condition is a factor he can easily control and improve compared to some of the genetic setbacks that Max possesses. As great as these two athletes are, they perfectly demonstrate this separation of the tiers in bodybuilding, as they can hardly even be compared to the elite that made up the top four, all of whom could be vying for an Olympia title and or top placing.
The New York Pro (formally Night of Champions) has historically been the third most prestigious contest in many’s opinion, falling only behind the Olympia and Arnold, but as more Arnold contests are added around the globe, the value of the NYP title has only increased and possibly surpassed that of the Arnold, which results in these stacked lineups. Following in tradition, this year’s New York Pro was a highly competitive contest, that was dense from top to bottom, but from the fifth place down it was a separate tier of bodybuilder than that in the Top-4, where the real battle with bigger indications took place. This battle ultimately resulted in Ramy yet again establishing himself as a contender for the Olympia title and separating himself even further from the pack.