Top Lifters to Watch at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show!

Top Lifters to Watch at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show! Top Lifters to Watch at the 2017 Sydney Fitness Show!
AuthorChristina McLoughlin
Publishedon April 28, 2017

What you’re in for…

Estimated Read Time: 10 minutes.



The 2017 Sydney Fitness Show will play host to a variety of sports, nutrition companies and fitness personalities. However, what we’re interested in is the Powerlifting stage where some of the best Powerlifters in the world will battle it out for World Records as we lead in to the 2017 Classic World Championship! There are 4 events spread over the 3 days including a local event on the Friday and Saturday morning with international events from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Without further delay, let’s see why you should be watching the Powerlifting at this year’s expo!


Sydney Open Championships

Joey Zinghini (-74kg, @protein_and_chemicals)

Joey is the co-owner of the The Strength Lab in Wollongong and is one of the top -74kg lifters in the country. A consummate professional in the game, Joey comes into this meet to hopefully extend his Deadlift national record currently at 278.5kg / 613lb and to finally break his first total national record, currently at 666.5kg / 1469lb which was broken just last weekend by Karl DiFalco in Melbourne. Both Karl and Joey will be going to Belarus in June for the World Championships! Joey competes on Friday at 1:30pm!


This is THE lift. The 1 I had literally dreamed about achieving 4 years ago when I started Powerlifting. The Deadlift National record at 278.5kg/614lb at 74kg/163lb Bodyweight. SO many emotions went into and out of this lift. I had played out this moment hundreds of times in my head for the last 2 months. I have never been so focused on anything, at one point in time in my life right before the lift. I went to a whole new level. A level I didn't even know I could go to. I broke down crying as soon as I saw those dam white lights. The suspense until those lights Lit 🔥 up was so intense. That moment seemed like time had froze. I broke down crying as soon as I saw 2 white lights. @camstrength just hugged me, my Dad and others (I'm sorry, I forget who else) There was a few things that could have messed me up which I'll talk about at a later time but I needed to simply adapt mentally to the situations I faced in this last training block and the conditions on the day. Otherwise, I would have failed myself, my family, my mates, my clients and my principles and morals. Thank you SO much to everyone who has messaged and supported me! It means a lot to me. Koray and @becausejustyn, thanks brothers for coaching me and pushing me through me training, and comp's. You've definitely made competing for me much more efficient. Thanks a lot to @5trong (awesome to compete with you man), @camstrength for having am his big shoulder to 😭 on and @york.sta for letting me crash at your crib.. and all The Lab crew @nps_lab_wollongong who made the trip down to support me! ❤ It was also great to be around @bg_waiweight while he competed. Congratulations to @thestrengthsyndicate and ALL the volunteers for running an awesome meet! Keen for your next 1. Thanks so much to my sponsor @titanaustralia @titanpowerlifting for looking after me with lifting gear! 👌 #teamtitan It was, as usual, so good to catch up with everyone post meet! 🔥🔥🍻🍻 I ended up with a 9/9 day. 232.5kg Squat (7.5kg PR) 150kg Bench Press (5kg PR) 278.5kg Deadlift (6.5kg PR and National Record) 661kg/1457lb Total (18.5kg PR) and 475.5 Wilks. 74.00kg Bodyweight I am so keen for more! 😍💪

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 Joey pulls 278kg in Canberra to chip the Deadlift national record!


Florian Loock (-105kg, @therealbigflo)

Former world record holder in bench press with 223.5kg / 492lb in the -105kg class, Florian returns to competition since he broke his first world record. He still holds the national record in bench press (223.5kg) and total (786kg / 1732lb and considering his long time away, he will either be more than ready to extend those records or be out of form, only one way to find out! Florian competes on Saturday at 10am.



Tia Toomey (Australia, -63kg, @tiaclair1)

CrossFit Games athlete, Olympian and now, Powerlifter. Tia Toomey has done it all and is now going to give Powerlifting a chance. Tia is only 23 years of age and already has been incredibly successful in fitness being two-time runner-up at the CrossFit Games (2015, 2016), she went to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for Weightlifting, being the only female from Australia present. She finished a very respectable 14th in the -58kg class with an 82kg / 180lb Snatch and a 107kg / 235lb Clean and Jerk.

She looks quite competitive in Powerlifting if she went full-time into it with her best lifts according to the CrossFit Games website being a 150kg / 330lb Squat and a 178kg / 392lb Deadlift. See Tia in 3-lift competition at the Sydney Open on Friday at 1:30pm.


Tia Toomey in action! 


Pacific Invitational Session 1 – 1:30pm Saturday

Kevin Gray (Australia, -59kg, @kevingray84)

Kevin Gray is certainly a newcomer to the Powerlifting scene but he will be Australia’s answer to IPF Hall of Famer Andrzej Stanaszek (Poland) and Mike Kuhns (USA), all former world record holders in Squat. Kevin recently competed in Melbourne and squatted 222.5kg / 490lb to annihilate the previous national record. More recently in training, Kevin squatted a double at 228kg / 502lb which is 500g over the current -59kg world record held by the great Sergey Fedosienko (Russia) set at World’s in 2016. Definitely one to watch over the next few years!

Kevin squats 228kg for a double in training!


Daiki Kodama (Japan, -74kg)

Recently awarded best lifter at this year’s Classic Bench Press World Championships with 205kg / 451lb in the -74kg class, Daiki comes over from the United States to better his world record of 211kg / 465lb set in at the same meet in 2015! His best bench in an international meet has been 207.5kg /457lb since then but in Japan he has hit 220.5kg / 486lb in competition. Kodama was also recently inducted into the IPF Hall of Fame and is a lifter who truly deserves it, being a 2x Classic World Bench Press Champion and a 12-time Equipped Bench Press World Champion. Come and watch the master at work at this meet but also the Pro Bench Press on Sunday morning!

Kodama’s best filmed competition bench press, 220.5kg in Japan, the current Japanese National record.


John Paul Cauchi (Australia, -74kg, @5trong)

City Strength sponsored athlete, JP enters this meet being his first international meet since his increase to the -74kg class. JP is a two-time junior world champion in the -66kg class (2014 and 2015) and is the current open world record holder in deadlift in the -66kg class with 282.5kg / 622lb done in 2016.  He also holds the junior deadlift world record with 277.5kg / 611lb from his Asia/Oceania Championship winning performance in Tashkent, 2015.

Now up into the -74kg class, his competitiveness in Australia has dropped but this meet will certainly provide a supportive environment for JP to thrive with no championship on the line. The current national record is 666.5kg / 1,469lb recently set by Melbourne teammate Karl Di Falco with the deadlift record currently at 278kg held by Joey Zinghini. I can guarantee that these numbers will be on his mind at this meet as he builds up into a class that is certainly suited to him.

JP will compete in the Pacific Invitational on Saturday at 1:30pm and in the Pro Deadlift at 11:30am on Sunday.

JP pulls 282.5kg for his final Deadlift world record at 2016 World’s in the -66kg class!


Brett Gibbs (New Zealand, -83kg, @bg_waiweight)

2015 World Champion and open world record holder, Brett Gibbs is a regular the Pacific Invitational and his form at the moment is sending a message to all other -83kg lifters that he’s in charge. His Bench has been on fire at the moment hitting a conservative 217.5kg / 479lb in training recently. In fact, all of his lifts have looked incredibly smooth and he looks incredibly prepared for some huge numbers this weekend.

Gibbs is the current 3-lift Bench Press world record holder with 208kg / 458lb from his loss to John Haack (USA) at 2016 World’s in Killeen. That is the last world record that Gibbs owns from the demolition from Haack in 2016 but Brett looks in his best shape ever, both physically and mentally and don’t be surprised if all of the -83kg world records go back to New Zealand.

Brett will compete in the Pacific Invitational on Saturday at 1:30pm.

 Brett smashes a 217.5kg Bench Press in training, 7.5kg over the single-lift world record!


Deamo Baguga (Nauru, -83kg, @d.baguga)

Certainly not the most famous -83kg lifter around but Deamo Baguga is the best deadlifter in the world in this class, not bad for a little country in the Pacific with a current population of 10,301 people. Definitely not on par with Brett on Squat, Bench and Total but his current world record of 321kg / 707lb is more than Brett has ever pulled in competition.

Prepare for an epic showdown on Deadlift between Baguga and Gibbs as this world record could certainly change hands a few times before the meet is over! Baguga competes with Gibbs on Saturday at 1:30pm.

Deamo Baguga pulls 320.5kg at the 2016 Pacific Invitational in Melbourne!


Liz Craven (Australia, -52kg, @lizpowerlifts)

Australia’s best ever raw lifter and City Strength sponsored athlete, Liz Craven is back at the Pacific Invitational following her best ever performance at the Arnold Sports Festival with a 424kg / 934lb total and a 531.31 Wilks, currently higher than the best Wilks from a female in 2016. At the Arnold Liz chipped her own Squat world record with 154kg / 339lb and after a string of awesome training sessions, this world record looks to be increasing. She recently squatted 160kg / 352lb in training along with a 190kg / 418lb Deadlift. She could potentially be the best lifter on Wilks this year and that would be amazing for Australian Powerlifting! Liz looks good for an increase to her squat world record as well as possibly challenging for the Deadlift world record which is currently at 190kg held by former -52kg lifter Joy Nnamani (Great Britain). However, without a doubt what Liz will be chasing is the total world record which is currently at 430kg / 947lb held by Marisa Inda (USA) from the Arnold this year. A 155.5kg / 342lb Squat, 87.5kg / 192lb Bench and a 187.5kg / 413lb Deadlift will be enough for a 430.5kg / 949lb new world record Total! Watch this master at work in the Pacific Invitational at 1:30pm on Saturday!

 Liz squats 154kg / 339lb at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival!


Pro Bench Press and Pacific Invitational Bench Press – Sunday at 10:30am

Caleb Voice (Australia, -93kg)

Australia’s best Bench Presser on Wilks comes back after a third place finish from the Classic Bench Press World Championship, Caleb comes back to Sydney to show the world what he can do. He’s also in an environment without direct competition, therefore there is no need for a dense competition strategy. Caleb is the former World Bench Press Champion in the -83kg class from 2016 with a 200kg / 440lb lift and now in the -93kg class, his best is 227.5kg / 501lb and is the current national record. At World’s this year he faced the current owner of the single-lift world record, Dennis Cieri (USA), a meet which Dennis won with 232.5kg / 512lb.

Come and see Caleb in his natural habitat as he fights for his first world record!

Caleb smashes 227.5kg / 501lb in 2016, his best bench in competition to date!


Kim Stevenson (Australia, -63kg, @kimi_stevenson)

Australia’s best female bench presser will also be showing everyone why she has that title with Kim Stevenson set to extend her national record, currently at 105kg / 231lb. Since this is an international meet, she also able to update her Oceania and Commonwealth records which are both set at 100.5kg / 221lb.

Kim smashes 105kg at the recent Matti Tikka competition in April 2017!


Pro Deadlift – Sunday at 11:30am

Kelli Clarke (Australia, -72kg, @kcthor)

Australia’s best female deadlifter by far, Kelli Clarke is Australia’s second best raw lifter and is the lightest person to Deadlift 200kg / 440lb raw in Australia’s history. She recently pulled a fantastic 205kg / 451lb as a light -72kg lifter and with her being in a Deadlift-only event, she should be capable of even more!

 Kelli pulls 205kg at the recent Matti Tikka competition in Penrith!


Cameron McKenzie (Australia, 120kg+, @camstrength)

City Strength sponsored athlete, Australia’s best male lifter, junior world record holder in Deadlift in the 120kg+(355kg / 782lb) and -120kg (363kg / 800lb) classes as well as the total world record holder in the -120kg class (888kg / 1,957lb), Cameron McKenzie is Australia’s biggest deadlifter and will show you why! No world records can be set in this competition, however the -120kg open world record is 372kg / 820lb and I have a feeling he will try and attempt 372.5kg / 821lb to surpass this record and hopefully give him confidence for a true attempt in his next 3-lift international meet.

Cam Deadlifts 363kg to chip Tuomas Hautala’s junior world record in Christchurch, 2016!


Pacific Invitational Session 2 – Sunday at 1:30pm

David Ricks (USA, -93kg)

IPF Hall of Famer, 57 year old David Ricks is an outright legend of Powerlifting being a 25-time United States Champion, however he has exploded in popularity following his second coming, and that is in response to his incredible performances in raw lifting. Ricks currently holds the OPEN world record squat in the -93kg class with 325kg / 716lb at the recent Arnold Sports Festival Grand Prix. He also holds all 5 M2 (50-59 yo) world records with the 325kg Squat, 200kg / 440lb Bench (3-lift and Single-lift), 292.5kg / 644lb Deadlift and a 802.5kg / 1,769lb Total.

Ricks with his 325kg Squat open world record from the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival!


Bronco Deiranuaw (Nauru, -105kg)

Bronco has been a member of the Nauruan team for many years and is known for one movement, Squat. Runner-up at the Junior World Championship in 2013 (-74kg) and former open world record holder in Squat (-93kg) with 303.5kg / 669lb which seemed to come out of nowhere in this meet in Melbourne last year. The reason why I say this is because his best Squat as a -74kg lifter was 250kg / 551lb while his best Squat as an -83kg lifter was 270kg / 595lb (first attempt) while his best at -93kg was the open WR 303.5kg. Now he is in the -105kg class and I hope his Squat is pushed even higher towards the open world record, currently at 331.5kg / 730lb held by Garrett Blevins (USA).

 Bronco smashes a 303.5kg Squat World Record in Melbourne, 2016!


Sisquo Cain (Nauru, -120kg)

Another Nauruan heavyweight is about to start his career! 17 year old Sisquo Cain comes into his first international meet which will serve as a warm-up for the biggest meet of his life, the Classic Sub-Junior World Championship in Belarus. He will compete as a lightweight -120kg lifter in this meet and a -105kg lifter in Belarus. The only information I have on him are based on his nominations for World’s, a 302.5kg / 666lb Squat is certainly the stand out number here. Remember this kid is 17 years old, nominated at a 300kg+ Squat is just incredible relative to the talent pool that Nauru have. Without a weight cut, what is this kid capable of? Given that the sub-junior world record is 276kg / 608lb, I’m expecting an enormous increase to it on Sunday! Also, Sisquo is deaf and will not be able to hear referee’s calls, just an amazing story.

 Sisquo squats 300kg in training back in March!


Bethany Parker (Australia, -84kg, @_beethanny_)

Bethany Parker is the next big thing in Australian female Powerlifting. She currently holds Sub-Junior world records in Squat (177.5kg / 391lb), Deadlift (195.5kg / 431lb) and Total (481.5kg / 1,061lb) as well as the OPEN national and Oceania record Bench Press with 108.5kg / 239lb which is staggering considering the competitiveness of the -84kg class in Australia and in the Oceania region. The 2016 Sub-Junior World Champion is using this meet to increase her own world records but also reclaim her Bench Press world record, held by 2017 Classic Sub-Junior Bench Press World Champion, Susanna Torronen (Finland) at 115kg / 253lb. I don’t see 500kg / 1102lb being too far away!

 Beth's final meet of 2016 in Christchurch!


Jezza Uepa (Nauru, 120kg+)

The out and out leader of the Nauruan team, Jezza Uepa is proving time and time again that he is up there with the great Ray Williams (USA)! In the Oceania region, Jezza has been proven to be unstoppable being the first lifter to total 1000kg / 2204lb+ in or out of equipment, the biggest equipped total by an Oceania lifter is 960kg / 2116lb, also by Jezza back in 2013. Jezza was also the first lifter to Squat 455kg/1,003lb raw in international competition which is something I hold in high regard, especially considering the various locations in which Powerlifting takes place. His best filmed Squat in training is a mammoth 470kg / 1,036lb a few months ago which is still 7.5kg below Ray Williams’ world record set at the Arnold’s. Jezza is also a great bench presser with his Oceania record being 263kg / 579lb set in New Zealand last year and with the 3-lift Bench Press world record being 275kg / 606lb, we may see an attempt at the world record. I don’t see Jezza beating Ray’s Total world record set at 1,105kg / 2,436lb but I definitely think he can increase his best total which is 1,022.5kg / 2,254lb, the Commonwealth and Oceania record. There’s no one better to watch at this event than Jezza in my opinion, he’ll bring the crowd and a fantastic atmosphere with him!

All 3 of Jezza's Squat attempts in New Zealand, 2016.

Jezza’s 470kg Squat in training, his highest recorded Squat.


Long article this week but certainly worth it for the plethora of talent that will be on stage at this year’s Sydney Fitness Show!


Make sure you get down to the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney for the greatest Powerlifting spectacle that Australia will host this year!


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


Tim Davies – Team PB Powerlifting

Instagram - @teampbpowerlifting

Facebook – Team PB Powerlifting

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AuthorChristina McLoughlin
Publishedon April 28, 2017