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Arnold Classic, 212 Review

Arnold Classic, 212 Review

The 212 Arnold Classic had many great physiques competing for its title, but only one could emerge victorious. The overall favorite entering this contest was reigning 212 Arnold Classic Champion, Jose Raymond. However as every Arnold Classic comes and goes, so does controversy with it. As the prejudging started, we saw competitors like John Meadows, Guy Cisternino and Cory Matthews making their debut to the Arnold stage alongside veterans such as David Henry, Jose Raymond, Charles Dixon, and Hidetada Yamagishi.

As the first callout began, Jose Raymond, Guy Cisternino, Hidetada Yamagishi, David Henry, and Charles Dixon were called to the center of the stage. As the mandatory poses got announced, the focus seemed to be on three athletes; David Henry, Hidetada Yamagishi, and Jose Raymond. The contrasts to these physiques are stark, to say the least. Jose brings both muscle density and grainy conditioning; while he may not be ‘pretty,’ this unique combination makes him a threat at any 212 (and now Open, after getting 2nd at the Phoenix Europa) event he enters. Yamagishi, a proportionate and well-rounded physique, though he had a tad less mass than Jose in Ohio. Not to be forgotten, former 202 Champion David Henry brought his always aesthetic physique, combining round muscle bellies with his streamlined waist.

Guy Cisternino_Jose Raymond_Arnold Classic 212

Conditioning, Mass, and Aesthetic. These factors, in combination, determine bodybuilding contests. Conditioning, Jose walked away with; however, this alone wasn’t enough as competitors such as John Meadows were equally so, but still landed outside the money. In the mass department, Jose wins as well. What Jose is edged out by aesthetic to his upper body by David Henry, he makes up for with his leg mass. Posing, as most would expect has to go to Hidetada Yamagishi. So as the finals wrapped, we saw a slightly-off yet very full Guy Cisternino take 4th place, David Henry fall into 3rd, and Jose Raymond 2nd. Hidetada Yamagishi was able to finally take home his first 212 Arnold Classic title. Yamagishi’s win does not come without controversy however, much aimed at this year’s addition of the posing round as a factor scored into final judging.

Hidetada Yamagishi Arnold Classic

Many argue that Jose Raymond deserved to win, especially if the contest was judged only by physique; but with the recent changes in criteria, it seems the judges have so far taken this order seriously, heavily factoring both aesthetics and posing. The ripple effect of this contest will be interesting to watch develop, as it could indicate a trend/direction in which the IFBB intends to set course. Or, like many ‘mandates’ before it, it could fall on deaf ears. Either way, Hidetada Yamagishi is a deserving champion, and the class continues to impress with its depth. The only big name missing from this event was Flex Lewis, who’s probably licking his chops in anticipation for the Olympia, and adding another title to his mantle.

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