| Tim Davies

2017 Classic Open Men’s World Powerlifting Championships: A Lift-by-Lift and Weight Class-by-Weight Class Breakdown


The 2017 Classic World Championships are underway in Minsk, Belarus with the Master’s lifters concluding competition on Saturday and the sub-junior and junior males and females currently competing before the open lifters begin on Wednesday!

This article presents part II of the preview for the Classic Open World Powerlifting Championship, this time previewing the men’s competition which looks mouth-watering, to say the least.

No more delay! Let’s dive in to 149 lifters that are nominated in the men’s open division in what looks to be the most competitive classic world’s ever!


-59kg Class. My pick: Sergey Fedosienko (Russia)

The -59kg class has been dominated by Russia since Classic Worlds’ inception in 2012. Their lifter, Sergey Fedosienko, has been completely unchallenged on total and looks good to easily take the win here and extend his current WR’s!


-59kg Squat, Current WR: 240kg / 529lb – Kevin Gray (Australia) 

Updates from the Invitational at the Sydney Fitness Show after the squat session! 1. Kevin Gray (Australia, -59kg, @kevingray84) adds 12.5kg to Sergey Fedosienko's (Russia) WR squat with 240kg/529lb! 2. Liz Craven (Australia, -52kg, @lizpowerlifts) is on her way to her 4th WR total with a 155.5kg/342lb WR squat! 3. Irving Harris (Nauru, -74kg) chips his own M2 WR squat with 207.5kg/457lb! In other news: Brett Gibbs (New Zealand, -83kg, @bg_waiweight) squats 292.5kg/644lb for an easy third attempt, on his way to Haack's WR total. JP Cauchi (Australia, -74kg) squats 225kg/496lb second attempt, missing 242.5kg/534lb third. Brea De Jonge (Australia, -74kg) extends her sub-junior national record squat to 172.5kg/380lb WR holder in deadlift Deamo Baguga (Nauru, -83kg) squats 255kg/562lb. . . . . . #teamPBpowerlifting #powerlifter #powerlifting #fitness #squat #powerliftingaustralia #bench #deadlift #iifym #ipf #fit #strength #bodybuilding #crossfit #weightlifting #adonisathleticscampbelltown #adonisathletics #shsc #citystrength

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Gray’s 240kg squat at the recent Sydney Fitness Show

Sergey is the former WR holder in this discipline after Australia’s Kevin Gray dominated 240kg at the Sydney Fitness Show. Sergey should win gold here, nominated at 227.5kg / 501lb, but he does take large jumps on his third attempt, if he misses his third, two or three lifters could surpass him. Ecuador’s Franklin Leon is a regular in this class, both equipped and raw and is always close to Sergey on squat, nominated at 222.5kg / 490lb. Algeria’s Mohamed Lakehal is nominated at 220kg while another legend in this class Dariusz Wszola (Poland) is nominated at 217.5kg / 479lb and could certainly overtake Fedosienko if he misses his third. Due to the WR being so far away, I don’t see an attempt at it but it will be interesting to see how far Sergey goes.

Sergey's 227.5kg  squat shown below.


-59kg Bench Press, Current WR: 171kg / 376lb – Sergey Fedosienko (Russia)

WR shown below.

Sergey is such a good bench presser and I don’t see him being challenged here with his nomination of 171kg, the current WR. This nomination is 17kg above the next best lifter which is Wszola at 154kg / 339lb which looks to be a Polish record. Japanese lifter Takaharu Ebihara has been nominated at 142.5kg / 314lb but has hit 140kg / 308lb for the last three years straight so it will be a nice battle between Ebihara, Leon and Kazakh lifter Dmitriy Vykhodtsev who are both nominated at 140kg.


-59kg Deadlift, Current WR: 271kg / 597lb – Sergey Fedosienko (Russia) and -59kg Total, Current WR: 669.5kg / 1,475lb – Sergey Fedosienko (Russia)

WR shown below.

Sergey’s nomination of 271kg doesn’t look to be challenged either. Based off his training though, I’m expecting a large increase to his WR as he pulled 300kg / 661lb with straps in his lead-in for the event, which would have been around 5 times bodyweight.

Sergey’s best deadlift in competition, 273kg / 601lb with his best ever total of 670kg / 1,477lb at 2015 Russian Raw Nationals

Total is much like bench and deadlift, Sergey has it covered. His nominated WR total is 82kg ahead of second seeded Franklin Leon. One thing will be on Sergey’s mind, the WR total, as well as the Russian record total which is currently at 670kg / 1,477lb so I expect he will attempt to chip that.

Sergey’s best performance in international competition including a 227.5kg squat, 171kg bench press and a 271kg deadlift for a 669.5kg / 1,475lb.


-66kg Class. My pick: Sergey Gladkikh (Russia)

The -66kg class has been a very close division, however, in 2016, Sergey Gladkikh seemed to stroll to a WR 670kg / 1,477lb total, which added 16.5kg to the previous record. This is only his second international raw meet so there is a lot to be added to this total and I expect him to cruise to victory once again. Canada’s Stephen Cascioli is always up there and his nomination of 660.5kg / 1,456lb is certainly competitive if Gladkikh has a sub-par day or has poor attempt selection (which has happened before). I think the bolter here is another Russian lifter, Alexander Kolbin. Formerly a -59kg lifter but has made the correct choice to move into the more competitive -66kg Russian team. As a lifter who is still growing, there is a lot of growth to be made so his nomination of 658kg / 1,450lb may be a conservative one.


-66kg Squat, Current WR: 249kg / 548lb – Sawyer Yandell (USA)

Sawyer Yandell’s 249kg squat to chip his own WR in the junior competition in Belarus.

Junior lifter, Sawyer Yandell surprised many when he chipped Stephen Cascioli’s recently set WR at the 2017 Arnold’s so Cascioli will be hungry for the WR to return to Canada. Gladkikh has not competed since his win at this event 12 months ago so we could see a massive increase to his best raw squat and current nomination of 245kg / 540lb. Cascioli is the top seed in squat with his former WR nomination of 248kg / 546lb and does look good to go over 250kg / 551lb, I also think Gladkikh has potential to go over 250kg. Cascioli is the defending squat gold medalist so I like him to keep his medal, just because Gladkikh has a bigger total to think about which is exactly what happened last year.

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 Cascioli’s 248kg WR squat before Sawyer Yandell chipped it in the next lift.


-66kg Bench Press, Current WR: 188.5kg / 415lb – Eddie Berglund (Sweden)

Berglund’s 188.5kg WR set at 2016 World’s!

No one will get close to Eddie Berglund’s WR bench based on nominations. Top seed is Gladkikh with 160kg / 352lb which was a difficult 3rd attempt at 2016 World’s. Remember it has been 12 months since he has competed so this 160kg could be opener worthy. Cascioli is nominated second with Kolbin who are both at 155kg / 341lb along with Georgian lifter Givi Margvelashvili. One to watch on bench is 3-lift equipped WR holder Mariusz Grotkowski (Poland) who is nominated at 150kg / 330lb and is capable of 220.5kg / 486lb in the shirt. For the gold though I like Gladkikh who has lifted 5kg more than Cascioli has ever lifted in competition and that is certainly a good advantage to have in a meet of this calibre.

Gladkikh’s 160kg bench from 2016 world’s shown below.


-66kg Deadlift, Current WR: 285kg / 628lb – Clifton Pho (Canada) and -66kg Total, Current WR: 670kg / 1,477lb – Sergey Gladkikh (Russia)

Pho’s recently set WR at 285kg to win the 2017 junior world championship in Belarus!

Deadlift is a two horse race in my eyes, current ER holder and former WR holder, Antii Savolainen (Finland) is nominated at 279kg / 615lb, his Finnish national record but will be followed closely by Kolbin at 270.5kg / 596lb. Savolainen certainly has the experience in this class having pulled a 278kg / 612lb WR to win the 2015 world championship while Kolbin has plenty of experience in international meets, but not in this class. I like Savolainen for gold as he may not be competitive for a total medal, depends on where Kolbin is on total going in for the third attempt.

Savolainen’s 279kg nomination from a meet in Finland.

The real battle is for total gold and this, in my opinion, will fall between Cascioli and Gladkikh. Gladkikh is the defending champion and as I said above, it looked like it was business as usual for the entire meet. It also has been a while since he competed so he could give us an enormous increase to the WR total to an enormous decrease in performance and anything in between. Gladkikh brings his A-game to big meets and team Russia will be more than ready to go for another gold medal for Russia!

Gladkikh’s WR total from 2016 World’s!


-74kg Class. My pick: Kjell Bakkelund (Norway)

What a show we have coming up here!  Five lifters over a 700kg nominated total with the return of a former world champion, the introduction of a future world champion along with players that have been in the game a long time looking for their first world championship. The lifter returning is Kjell Bakkelund (Norway), 2013 Equipped World Champion in the -83kg class, competing in his first international classic competition. The lifter competing in his first ever world’s is Yoshihiro Higa (Japan) who shot to fame following a video surfacing of him squatting 270kg / 595lb which was an unofficial WR by 10kg at the time. The players looking for their first world championship are American Taylor Atwood who was so close last year, Kazakh Ionin Yakov and another lifter dropping from the -83kg class, Owen Hubbard (Great Britain). Let’s see how they all fare in the individual lifts!


-74kg Squat, Current WR: 260.5kg / 574lb – Rabah El-Fekair (Algeria)

El-Fekair’s current WR at 260.5kg from the 2016 African Powerlifting Championships!

On squat I like the new sensation in the -74kg class, Yoshihiro Higa (Japan). As stated above he has recently squatted 270kg / 595lb in a competition in Japan and I expect him to at least match this if not increase. A couple of lifters are going to be close to him like El-Fekair but also Iranian lifter, Amir Assadollahzadehrezaabadi, who is nominated at 265kg / 584lb and even Taylor Atwood (USA) who is nominated at 260kg / 573lb. But I think Higa should take the gold as he needs a big squat if he is going to take down Bakkelund going into deadlift.

Higa’s 270kg squat third attempt after missing for downward movement on the second from the 2017 Japanese Raw Nationals.


-74kg Bench Press, Current WR: 211.5kg / 466lb – Daiki Kodama (Japan)

Daiki Kodama’s current WR bench at 211.5kg at the recent Sydney Fitness Show!

On bench, I really like Owen Hubbard! Not as competitive on total and top seed on bench (190kg / 418lb nomination), I think Owen can bring it home for Great Britain. His closest rival, Taylor Atwood (USA) is nominated at 187.5kg / 413lb but is very competitive for the total gold so I don’t think he will be pushing for a gold bench and if Matt Gary and Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary are coaching, they will take what is there, the total is more important. A lifter who is in a similar scenario to Hubbard is Taiwan’s Ching-Hong Feng who is also nominated at 190kg and less competitive on total then what Hubbard is so expect a close battle between Hubbard and Feng.

Hubbard’s 700kg / 1,543lb nomination including his top seeded 190kg bench at the 2017 Welsh Powerlifting Championships.


-74kg Deadlift, Current WR: 310.5kg / 684lb – Doni Meiyanto (Indonesia) and -74kg Total, Current WR: 730kg / 1,609lb – Aliaksandr Hrynkevich-Sudnik (Belarus)

Doni Meiyanto’s current 310.5kg WR deadlift back at the 2014 Asia/Oceania Powerlifting Championships in Melbourne, Australia.

Deadlift will be dominated by one lifter, Kjell Bakkelund (Norway). His nomination at 325kg / 716lb currently equals the -83kg WR and is 14.5kg over the current WR. His squat and bench will have him behind on sub-total but he will reclaim his lead with his first attempt. Even 325kg looked quite comfortable back in Norway and I expect a large increase to the record if he has the meet won. Finland’s Sami Nieminen has been going for this record for a long time but I think Bakkelund will push it beyond reach. Higa is nominated at the second highest deadlift with 302.5kg / 666lb and I think he looks good for silver but Nieminen will not be competitive on total so he will stick around the big deadlifters and hope for at least silver if not a bronze.

I think Bakkelund will be able to hold off Atwood due to the fact he is the far bigger deadlifter and will be able to start chipping weights from 311kg / 685lb onwards. Atwood, being the lighter deadlifter, has one goal, take what’s there and put deadlifts on to put him in the lead to make Bakkelund lift for the win. I have seen strange things happen when lifters have had to pull for the win, expecting to get the lift and miss on a technicality. All going well, Bakkelund to win with a new WR deadlift and total.

Bakkelund’s nominated 730kg total from a meet in Norway featuring a mammoth 325kg deadlift!


-83kg Class. My pick: Brett Gibbs (New Zealand)

The -83kg class is now dominated by one lifter, Brett Gibbs. Gibbs is certainly an outright favourite for his second world championship with his 807.5kg/ 1,780lb nomination being 43.5kg ahead of second seed Alexey Kuzmin (Russia) and his best total being 51kg ahead of Kuzmin’s nomination. However, Brett will be the first to admit, he does not perform well in big competitions where he is challenged. It happened in Salo and Killeen where Jose Castillo (Ecuador) and Haack performed extremely well and it pushed Brett to missing lifts leading to a reduced total, both lifters are now banned from the IPF. At invitational meets, he is great, no pressure, just see how much he can lift, so will this be the meet that he brings it together and produces a total that he has been capable of when or another meet where he performs under his potential?


-83kg Squat, Current WR: 298kg / 656lb – John Haack (USA)

Haack’s 298kg WR squat from 2016 World’s

Brett is miles in front on squat and I pick him for an easy gold, his nomination of 290kg / 639lb was done in Canberra but he has done 292.5kg / 644lb at the Sydney Fitness Show which is his current Commonwealth and Oceania record. What does look interesting though is if Brett has a really bad squat session as there are so many lifters who are fighting for minor medals, but could take gold if Brett has a bad time. Alexey Kuzmin (Russia) is a veteran of raw lifting and is nominated at 274kg / 604lb, current European champion Jure Rus (Slovenia) is nominated at the ER, 275.5kg / 607lb, former WR holder in deadlift Deamo Baguga (Nauru) is nominated at 275kg / 606lb, junior Asian record holder Clinton Lee (Singapore) is nominated at 270kg / 595lb, Open Asian record holder Aman Kapyshev (Kazakhstan) and Iranian lifter Saeid Sharifisedeh are also nominated at 270kg. So Brett needs to hit at least 280kg / 617lb to hold off this massive flight of lifters looking to take him down. I still pick Brett to hold off these lifters and possibly attempt Haack’s WR if gold is sorted.

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Brett’s best squat in competition, 292.5kg at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show!


-83kg Bench Press, Current WR: 208kg / 458lb – Brett Gibbs (New Zealand)

With no Owen Hubbard in the -83kg division, Brett looks really comfortable to take another bench gold! One other lifter is nominated over 200kg / 440lb and that is Faisal Ahmed Obaid (UAE, 205kg / 451lb), however the UAE lifters do tend to inflate their nominations, especially bench so I don’t trust it. Lithuania’s Denis Jevdokimov is nominated at 190kg / 418lb followed by many lifters at 170kg / 374lb to 180kg / 397lb. I don’t think it is a matter of if Brett will get the gold, but by how much. He will be looking to break his 3-lift WR but also Daiki Kodama’s (Japan) single-lift WR currently at 210kg / 462lb.

Brett’s current 3-lift Bench Press WR, 208kg at the 2016 World Championship.


-83kg Deadlift, Current WR: 325kg / 716lb – Robert Mihaylov (Bulgaria) and -83kg Total, Current WR: 814kg / 1,794lb – Brett Gibbs (New Zealand)

Mihaylov’s 325kg Deadlift open WR at the age of 40!

Many players are in the battle for deadlift gold too with Brett nominated at 320kg / 705lb, but hit 321.5kg / 708lb in Sydney, former WR holder Deamo Baguga (Nauru) is nominated at 321kg / 707lb but hit 322.5kg / 710lb in Sydney, Alexey Kuzmin (Russia) nominated at 310kg / 683lb but is capable of 320kg /705lb back in Russia, outsider Fabian Gerritzen (Germany) nominated at 322.5kg / 710lb but only hit 305kg / 672lb at 2017 Classic Europeans in March with European champion Jure Rus (Slovenia) nominated at 315kg / 694lb. Much like squat, anyone could take this but the total is much more important. Brett, having the meet won, may just wait until the end and try to take the deadlift WR back to New Zealand. However, Gerritzen not being competitive on total, has nothing but deadlift gold to fight for and may put what he needs for gold. I really like Baguga though who has proven time and time again that he can match it on deadlift with the best in the world and I think this meet will be no exception, he’s beaten Brett on deadlift before and I think he is capable of doing the same again.

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Baguga’s 322.5kg deadlift from the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show!

But it’s all about Brett Gibbs at this meet and I still think he has what it takes to win quite comfortably!

Brett’s current WR total at 814kg / 1,794lb from the Sydney Fitness Show!


-93kg Class. My pick: Anatolii Novopismennyi (Ukraine)

No Krzysztof Wierzbicki (Poland) or 2016 champion Mikhaylo Bulanyy (Ukraine) so we will crown a brand new world champion in this class! I’m picking Anatolii Novopismennyi, an up and coming Ukrainian lilfter who is only 21 years old and is nominated at a huge 843kg / 1,858lb! Superman and M2 lifter, David Ricks (USA), is also up there with an 830kg / 1,829lb nomination but another junior lifter Yerlan Smagulov (Kazakhstan) is nominated 10kg above him and may take the crown as well! Let’s see how they measure up in each lift.


-93kg Squat, Current WR: 325.5kg / 717lb – David Ricks (USA)

On squat I pick Ricks for gold. He is the current WR holder with an incredible 325.5kg / 717lb effort at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show. He has had such a rapid rise in performance in his squat and I’m worried that it will end quick, as in next week. He does take big jumps between attempts so if he misses a third he could be at risk of losing his gold medal. Novopismennyi is nominated at 312.5kg / 688lb with Smagulov at 310kg / 683lb. I remember Smagulov competing at Junior World’s in 2015 and he dominated a 290kg / 639lb squat third attempt so 310kg could be conservative as well. Ricks will need his third attempt to win gold in my opinion and he has enough experience to know what he is good for in international competition.

IPF Hall of Fame Member, David Ricks, Open World Record Squat 325.5kg (717.6lb) from LFT Performance Nutrition on Vimeo.

Ricks’ 325.5kg OPEN WR squat as a M2 lifter!


-93kg Bench Press, Current WR: 232.5kg / 512lb – Dennis Cieri (USA)

Cieri’s current 232.5kg WR 3-lift Bench Press from the 2012 North American Championships!

On bench I like the current runner-up from the Classic Bench Press Championships, L.S. McClain (USA)! He really impressed me at this event, coming second to WR holder Cieri. His nomination of 210kg / 462lb is representative of what he has done in a 3-lift meet however he is capable of 230kg / 507lb or more, 230kg is what he attempted for second place at Bench World’s. He hasn’t hit more than 212.5kg / 468lb in international 3-lift competition so the squat could take some energy out of him. I also like the current 3-lift ER holder, Jakub Sedlacek (Czechia), nominated with his ER at 220.5kg / 486lb. Sedlacek was really impressive at Classic Europeans back in March and I think he will at least attempt 222.5kg / 490lb to extend his ER.

 McClain’s 230kg Bench Press silver medal from the 2017 Classic World Bench Press Championships!


-93kg Deadlift, Current WR: 372.5kg / 821lb – Krzysztof Wierzbicki (Poland) and -93kg Total, Current WR: 847.5kg / 1,868lb - Krzysztof Wierzbicki (Poland)

Wierzbicki’s -93kg deadlift WR, 372.5kg to match Mikhaylo Bulanyy on total and win his third World Championship in 2014!

On deadlift I like Novopismennyi who is nominated at 340.5kg / 750lb which is a Ukrainian record and is 13kg above his nearest rival, Smagulov. Both lifters are junior lifters and are eligible for junior deadlift and total records, currently at 355kg / 782lb and 812.5kg / 1,791lb respectively. Ricks is also in that boat with M2 and M1 records on the line, the M2 deadlift WR was recently increased to 300.5kg / 662lb while the total is still his at 825.5kg / 1,819lb.

Novopismennyi’s 340.5kg deadlift nomination from a meet in Ukraine in 2016.

On total I think Novopismennyi has it, the above 340.5kg deadlift lead to an 843.5kg / 1,859lb total which is 4kg below the open national total record held by Bulanyy. Novopismennyi is certainly the future of this class and don’t be surprised if he surpasses the open total WR in order to hold off Ricks and Smagulov.

Footage from Ukraine of Novopismennyi’s nomination numbers, 312.5kg / 688lb squat, 190kg / 418lb bench with the above 340.5kg / 750lb deadlift. Novopismennyi turns 21 this year.


-105kg Class. My pick: Krzysztof Wierzbicki (Poland)

Arguably the most exciting division in this championship, the -105kg offers WR standard lifters in each discipline with the top 4 lifters all holding the total WR at some point or another. My pick is Krzysztof Wierzbicki, current WR holder in total and owner of the second largest raw deadlift in the IPF regardless of weight class. His prowess in deadlift is why I like him for the win, he’s able to put on exactly what he needs (to the nearest 500g) to win the meet. Don’t count out former WR holder in total Garrett Blevins (USA) who is attending his first world’s and is the current owner of the bench press WR and is former WR holder in squat. Stephen Manuel (Great Britain) and Bryce Lewis (USA) will be battling for Bronze I think but Bryce especially is solid on all 3 lifts so he could end up in third or even second with his consistency. Let’s see how each discipline breaks down.


-105kg Squat, Current WR: 332kg / 731lb – Bronco Deiranauw (Nauru)

Bronco with a lightning fast 332kg / 731lb WR squat at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show (Video 6)!

On squat I like Garrett Blevins (USA). Former WR holder before Bronco took it at the Fitness Show. He made a very good showing at the 2017 Arnold’s in which he squatted 331.5kg / 730lb to chip Stephen Manuel’s (Great Britain) WR. He seems very calm under the bar and it certainly makes for a better lifter at this level. His main rival on squat, Manuel, is looking to retain his squat gold medal from 2016 where he dominated 325kg / 716lb which was ultimately not enough to medal on the total. For me it is between Blevins and Manuel, both need a big squat for their total and I can guarantee that at least one of them will go over the Bronco’s WR!

Blevins’ 331.5kg squat at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival for an open WR at the time!


-105kg Bench Press, Current WR: 224kg / 493lb – Garrett Blevins (USA)

Blevins’ full meet from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival including his 224kg bench press WR!

On bench I pick Blevins after his epic Arnold’s performance back in March! He won’t have it easy though with many lifters at the 210kg to 220kg mark on nominations. Bryce Lewis (USA) is nominated at 210kg / 462lb but is certainly capable of more having hit a 212.5kg / 468lb at the 2016 Arnold. I also do like lifters that are competitive on an individual lift but not on total, so watch for Yusuke Takeda (Japan) and Sen Yang (Chinese Taipei), both of which are nominated at 215kg. Takeda hit a solid 215kg in training recently while Yang hit a really comfortable, opener worthy 210kg in a meet in Taiwan. However I do like Blevins for gold and I believe he will extend his own WR.


-105kg Deadlift, Current WR: 390kg / 859lb - Krzysztof Wierzbicki (Poland) and -105kg Total, Current WR: 890kg / 1,962lb

Wierzbicki’s current WR deadlift at 390kg / 859lb set at the 2017 European Classics.

No surprises here but WIerzbicki looks really comfortable for deadlift gold, he could even win it on his first attempt. Wierzbicki’s nomination of a huge 400kg / 881lb in a local meet in Poland is clearly a statement of intent and I can’t wait to see him pull something close to that to win the championship.

Because of his enormous deadlift, I like Wierzbicki for the win and with a 900.5kg / 1,985lb nomination total, he certainly is the favourite. Being so far ahead on deadlift means he knows exactly what he needs to win, down to the nearest 500g if over 390kg. He will be behind by a long way on sub-total, he will be at around 500kg / 1,102lb while Blevins will be at ~560kg / 1,234lb. It’s a long way to claw back but Wierzbicki will be lighter (barely weighing 100kg / 220lb at the moment) so he will need to match the difference between each lifter. If it is a 60kg difference between him and Blevins, Wierzbicki will need to pull 60kg more than Blevins to win, so if Blevins pulls 332.5kg / 733lb, which will be a 2.5kg PB, Wierzbicki will put on 392.5kg / 865lb. As you can see, it certainly is an advantage for Wierzbicki to be the final deadlifter. I can’t wait for this class!

Wierzbicki’s 400kg deadlift for a 900.5kg total at a local meet in Poland, not long after the European Classics in March, 2017.


-120kg Class. My pick: Dennis Cornelius (USA)

Two lifters have dominated this class in recent years, Mohammed Bouafia (Algeria) and Dennis Cornelius (USA). Cornelius defeated Bouafia last year in the USA following an incredible 978.5kg / 2,157lb total WR which included WR’s in squat and bench press. Cornelius exploded onto the IPF scene at the 2016 Arnold’s where he set his first ever WR’s in squat, bench and total. Cornelius has certainly set the benchmark in this class but he may not clean sweep all disciplines, more on that below.


-120kg Squat, Current WR: 378kg / 833lb – Dennis Cornelius (USA)

Cornelius’ current WR squat at 378kg done at the 2016 Classic World Championship, Killeen, Texas.

Bouafia and Cornelius dominate the squat competition in this class but I’m picking Cornelius to win gold and extend his current WR. Bouafia has not been able to replicate his performance at 2014 World’s where he squatted 375kg / 826lb, whereas Cornelius has been able to progress his squat past Bouafia’s mark and even further beyond that. Cornelius’s WR is set at 378kg however he has squatted 392.5kg / 865b as a lightweight super at 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals. This number will certainly be on his mind and I expect a WR second attempt before he attempts something huge, could even be 400kg / 881b, which will make him the lightest person to have squatted 400kg raw in the IPF.

Cornelius’ 392.5kg squat from 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals at 124.5kg bodyweight.


-120kg Bench Press, Current WR: 253kg / 557lb – Dennis Cornelius (USA)

Cornelius’ current WR bench at 253kg from the 2016 Classic World Championships.

Cornelius is the defending bench press champion in this event with the current WR at 253kg. However, a well-known equipped bench presser has entered this competition, Amandas Paulauskas (Lithuania) who is nominated at 245kg / 540lb. Paulauskas is a former equipped bench press world champion and has been hitting some crazy numbers in training, peaking at a 270kg / 595lb touch and go in training. I’m actually picking Paulauskas here because he can take the risk for bench gold where if Cornelius misses lifts, it could open the door for Bouafia to pull for the win.

Paulauskas’ 270kg touch and go bench press in training!


-120kg Deadlift, Current WR: 372kg / 820lb – Hifon Smith (USA) and -120kg Total, Current WR: 978.5kg / 2,157lb – Dennis Cornelius (USA)

Hifon Smith’s full meet from the 2016 Arnold Sports Festival, including his 372kg WR which chipped the great Mike Tuchscherer (USA)!

I don’t see Smith’s deadlift WR being broken here but a really nice battle looks to be on the cards between Bouafia and Tony Cliffe (Great Britain), nominated at 360kg / 793lb and 357.5kg / 788lb respectively. Bouafia is the defending deadlift champion with the 360kg which is his M1 WR. I like Bouafia to hold off Cliffe for the deadlift gold as I don’t think Bouafia will be attempting something to beat Cornelius.

Bouafia’s meet from 2016 where he won the deadlift gold with 360kg!

Cornelius has it quite easily on total I think, current WR holder in total and I don’t think he will be caught, based on his enormous sub-total and a very solid deadlift.

Cornelius’ current WR total at 978.5kg set at the 2016 Classic World Championships!


120kg+ Class. My pick: Ray Williams (USA)

Ray Williams is the king of this class, I don’t expect him to be challenged at all for his 4th world championship!


120kg+ Squat, Current WR: 477.5kg / 1,052lb – Ray Williams (USA)

Ray’s current WR set at 477.5kg from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival!

Ray has certainly stepped up in his squat in recent years. From a lifter that would dump 400kg / 881lb+ on spotters to becoming THE best squatter in world, it has certainly been a rapid rise. My issue is when will it end? His progress will have to halt at one point and I’m waiting for that moment to happen because his progress his similar to an intermediate lifter, as a scientist it fascinates me a lot. Anyway, Ray will have a fantastic battle with Nauruan Jezza Uepa once again which is what happened in 2015 and 2016. Jezza is nominated at 455kg / 1,003lb from his meet in New Zealand but has put up some truly incredible numbers in training including a 470kg / 1,036lb in Nauru and a very recent 460kg / 1,014lb in Queensland. He recently competed at the Sydney Fitness Show where he looked flat grinding through 440kg / 970lb and then missing 457.5kg / 1.008lb on the third. I like Ray for gold here as his momentum is continuing following the 477.5kg at the Arnold!

Ray’s best ever training squat which matches his 477.5kg WR!


120kg+ Bench Press, Current WR: 275kg / 606lb – Ilyes Boughalem (Algeria)

Boughalem’s current 3-lift WR at 275kg from the 2016 Classic World Championships!

On bench I like the defending champion and current WR holder, Ilyes Boughalem. Not competitive on total, winning bench gold is what he is here for more than anything else, much like Paulauskas in the -120kg class. Since the moment above, Boughalem has hit a 283kg / 623lb bench in a grand prix event and I remember seeing a 292.5kg / 644lb attempt as well but I can’t seem to find film of it. I think he is able to hold off his nearest rival which will be Kelly Branton (Canada). Kelly attempted 275.5kg / 607lb at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival but just missed and I think he will certainly give Boughalem a run for his money. Kelly’s best bench is 272.5k1g / 600lb, just 2.5kg off Boughalem’s WR so expect to see a few attempts for a new WR!

Boughalem’s best bench in competition, 283kg which is the current single-lift WR!


120kg+ Deadlift, Current WR: 392.5kg / 865lb – Ray Williams and 120kg+ Total, Current WR: 1,105kg / 2,436lb – Ray Williams (USA)


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Ray’s 392.5kg current WR deadlift which added a huge 17.5kg to Brad GIllingham’s WR set back in 2013.

I have said this so many times but, deadlift is why Ray wins meets and wins consistently. He finally unleashed his deadlift potential at the Arnold’s with a massive 392.5kg! No one will come close to this number and being a recurring theme of this article, the big deadlifter is always at an advantage at a meet of this calibre and Ray being the last out will certainly give him the chance to pull for the win (unlikely) or put on something huge! Time will tell…


Best lifter is tough to decide but if Ray increases his WR total and if the Americans are smart with their deadlift attempt selection, I think Ray will overthrow Sergey Fedosienko for the first time at an international classic competition!


All the nominations can be found here. Goodlift will be streaming all classes live so get around it for what will undoubtedly be the best Classic World Championships of all time!


Until next time, train hard, train smart and dominate on the platform.


Tim Davies – Team PB Powerlifting

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