2018 Amateur & Pro Worlds Recap
The Largest Natural Bodybuilding & Physique Competition In California’s History!
2018 Worlds also produced the largest International athlete attendance in 29 years of drug free bodybuilding!
As the natural bodybuilding world looked at the 2018 schedule, many had their sights set on the 2018 WNBF World Championships in Los Angeles. The long year of training, dieting and competing often culminates with the Worlds.
Los Angeles is the MECCA of bodybuilding, so it is no wonder that natural athletes from 25 different countries would convene in LA for the SUPER Bowl of Natural Bodybuilding.
Bob Bell and Tina Smith had scouted out LA, and found a perfect home for the 2016 Worlds in Redondo Beach. 2017 brought us back to Boston where Nancy Andrews and Northeast promoters helped encourage athlete participation into Worlds in record numbers. The 2018 version of LA Worlds was even better planned with so many amenities for the athletes and fans. The 3 connected hotels, most with kitchens and easily accessible outdoor grills, are located close to the airport and only 2 blocks from the beautiful Centinela Valley Center for the Arts. The WNBF was praised by hotel staff as the largest group they’ve ever had, and it really felt like a small village for natural bodybuilders. Many made it to Venice Beach and the iconic Golds Gym there with just a 15-minute drive.
The check-in and drug testing began on Wednesday before the show. All competitors were scheduled to take the polygraph test, check in, and attend the competitor meetings on Friday night. The check-in and drug testing began on Wednesday before the show. All competitors were scheduled to take the polygraph test, check in, and attend the competitor meetings on Friday night.
A sign-in board featuring all of the international affiliate logos, a red carpet for photos, California oranges, samples of Cellucor products, and WNBF clothing were featured in a large meeting space where athletes could also spend time together leading up to the event. The positive energy and enthusiasm in the room could be felt by all. The judges’ meeting also was held on Friday night with an extended agenda going over all categories in detail. This year, we had an international panel with several affiliates featuring their judges for the Worlds competition.
Saturday, November 17th at 8:00 AM, doors opened to a smiling staff comprised of California’s finest team along with many US promoters all with the mindset to make this day as special as it could be for all. Ian Mercer headed the expediting team with a large backstage area which was open, and competitors could mingle and then get studio photographs right off stage from “Better Aesthetics Bodybuilding”.
The show Began with Pro Women’s Bodybuilding. Class splits happen when there are at least 16 competitors. This year, we had only 13 women, so that made it a one class show. The 2016 WNBF World Champion Lisa Lum, Hawaii USA native came into this event very crisp and with great overall development. Her sharp leg separation from the front really helped to push her ahead of the reigning Overall and heavyweight winner from the USA in 2017, Candace Hatch. Candace had the best leg development and separation from the back, but that was not quite enough. Yvette Arthur was in the running in all rounds and finished third. Yvette traveled from the United Kingdom to compete as the 2018 Pro International Champion. She had a great total package and her best condition to date. Also from the United Kingdom, Danni Theresa, made her Pro Worlds debut after winning the 2017 Overall Amateur World title. She is definitely one to keep an eye on in the future. With a little better condition, she will move up quickly. And rounding out the top 5 was another international competitor, Jorun Morkore from the Faroe Islands. Jorun had great overall muscularity and definition for her smaller stature.
The Men’s weight classes were preset, and with 16 lightweights, the class was further divided for Bantam Weights. This class was super exciting as every person in the class came in top shape. As the competitors moved through the quarter turns, the judges had a taste of how difficult the task would be to rank these great bodybuilders. Returning to stage after an eight-year hiatus was USA’s Clement Yearwood who shocked the bodybuilding world with an overall win at the WNBF Pro Monster Mash two weeks prior. For LA, he dialed in even sharper, and with his tiny waist and great proportions, Clement was able to take the class. Runner up by just 1 point was Hawaii born and Oregonian Gerry Bernabe who pushed Clement in the muscularity round with a thick back, dense quads, and outstanding glutes and hamstrings, all ultra-defined. Mattia Zanutto of Italy came to win and battled for his third-place finish. He was thick everywhere, and offered a great overall package. The 2018 WNBF Pro Universe Champion, Jose Francisco Espinoza of the USA, showed off the best quad sweep in the class to gain fourth place. Rounding out the top five in his pro debut was Francisco Inzunza, California USA. Francisco has a very bright future ahead and definitely knows how to get in shape as his condition was spot on.
Our Pro Men’s Lightweight class was a total International win. First place went to Ben Howard of the UK who had just won the Pro International Overall title there, and he clearly demonstrated the best overall package. Italian Pro Matteo Petrucci is no stranger to a top 5 Worlds finish, and was runner up here by 1 point. Matteo poses with aesthetic beauty, and his physique is complete with hard muscularity throughout. Finishing third while receiving one first place vote, was Damian Lees from the UK. Damian shows big quads with exemplary detail. In fourth was Adria Albiol Aviles coming off of a huge win at the WNBF Spain Championships, and with dominant size, he added a great finish for his pro debut. Fifth place went to Leonardo Casagrande of Italy who had nice symmetry and incredible quad sweep.
The Men’s Middleweight group was packed with talent and muscle! As the lineup came out on stage, the depth in this class was phenomenal, and it is no wonder that the winner of this class would go on to win the Overall. Reigning World Champion and winner of this class with unanimous first place votes was Babacar Niang from Italy. Babacar is so thick everywhere, and he possesses perfect symmetry. Pushing him at every pose was a similarly thick Bada Lekan of the USA via Lagos, Nigeria who made a middleweight cut for the first time. Lekan resides in LA and had great support in the crowd for this battle, but the physique Babacar brought to Worlds would not be denied. Haskell Cannonier of the USA had a strong showing in third with dense muscularity as well. From Italy, Alessandro Manfredi is always a finalist with a huge back, and great condition. The last finalist placement went to USA‘s Eric White, also with great size and huge biceps.
The Heavyweight class had one of the youngest ever WNBF Pro winners, Kendahl Richmond from the USA who used his great symmetry, and classic bodybuilding look of great lines to win this class. Watch out for this young man because in a few years he will be able to build even more dense muscle on his incredible frame. With a totally different look and lots of hard grainy muscle, Alastair Stewart from the UK finished second. Right in the mix and always a top finisher, was USA‘s Robert Peacock. Francesco Paleari of Italy had perhaps his best condition and solid posing for a strong fourth place finish. Our final placement went to Emmanuel Adejoh who recently earned Pro status with WNBF Germany and came to Worlds in his pro debut. Leaving with a fifth-place finish was super impressive in this class, and Emmanuel has perfect structure to improve upon.
The overall left four great class World Champions but this day belonged to Babacar Niang. With unanimous votes, Babacar walked away as the number one natural bodybuilder in the World! We are all looking forward to seeing what he will bring in 2019!
Pro Fit Body was our next class to the stage, and thirteen beautiful ladies displayed their muscularity. Three-time World Fit Body Champ from the USA, Tracy Rabbitt, was back hoping to claim her fourth title. Tracy Springer had other ideas on which Tracy would win though, and she did just that. Springer’s sharply defined legs, especially from the back helped the judges make their decision. Stephanie Collins of Ireland was the 2017 INBF Amateur World Champion, and she came to this Worlds in top form for her pro debut. Stephanie had a smaller stature, but her muscles were full, and her posing was the best in show to earn her a third-place finish. The INBF Granite State Open winner Cara Volpicelli of the USA showed strong muscularity as well in fourth. Finally, in fifth place was Canadian Melissa Vuckovic. Melissa had super condition and that helped her crack the top five.
This year based upon competitor survey, we made the move to drop the evening gown for Pro Figure competitors. The short class had seven great athletes, but Lucrezia Sonzini of Italy dominated this class. She had great muscularity and condition for an overall look to unanimously win the class. Stacey McBride of the USA finished second with a solid showing and nice condition. In third from Australia, Sue Ann Smith made her pro debut and had lots of looks from the judges for her great symmetry and stage presence. Fourth place went to Antonella Ortis making her pro debut after winning the Italian Championships in October. Antonella looked poised on stage with shapely quads and nice definition. In fifth place was USA‘s Stacie Reed of Ohio who was solid in all areas, with nice shape and structure.
The WNBF Pro Figure tall class was next to stage with tons of talent. Chrissy Zmijewski of the USA has been competing as a Pro for over ten years, and she showed that even someone at her high level can improve. Chrissy had the best condition by far of all figure athletes, and she did not leave any details out of this prep – her suit, her tan, her make-up and her posing. She nailed it and won the class. In second, Laura Muncey of Australia used her great structure and tiny waist to solidify the runner-up spot. Annalisa Ghirotti of Italy is no stranger to the Worlds stage either, and she has made it into the top five many times. This year, third place was definitely hers as Annalisa really hit her best condition. Making her World Pro debut, Shannon Kelly of New Jersey USA survived over 24 hours at the airport the days before the show. She still managed to finish fourth in this tough class with big delts, and a big smile. USA‘s Regina Lewis, the 2015 WNBF Pro World Champion, finished fifth in this stacked class.
The Pro Figure overall was spectacular. In a split vote, Lucrezia Sonzini prevailed and was awarded the Worlds Pro Figure Overall title. The judges struggled with this one because both competitors are incredible champions.
Shifting gears, we moved onto Pro Men’s Physique. This class has experienced such fast growth that we were able to offer two height classes for the first time in the history of the WNBF. The Short class had our 2015 World Champion, David Galan of the Faroe Islands, and our 2017 reigning World champion, Cosimo DeAngeles of Italy competing against each other, along with many 2018 WNBF Pro Physique title holders. David Galan was On – he did not miss a detail and was well prepared and the most complete package displaying excellent posing to win the class. There was a tie for second, and Massimo Brunaccioni of Italy was just a bit sharper to edge out Cosimo DeAngeles who finished third. Cosimo’s physique is outstanding, so that is the depth of WNBF Pro Men’s Physique. Marcus Ames of New York USA showed his best physique to date, and it was good enough for fourth place. And another Italian competitor, Nicolo Agostinelli grabbed fifth in his pro debut with awesome stage presentation.
The Tall class featured many new Pros, but you would not know they were new based on how well they presented on stage. The class winner Chin Chang Chiou of Taiwan dominated with great presentation, and a very well-conditioned and balanced physique. He earned his pro status at the inaugural WNBF Philippines event in June. Matteo Galas of Italy had just qualified at the Italian Championships, and he had a great overall look as well to finish second. Pushing him on every shot was the 2017 Amateur World Champion, Toni Martorell of Spain. Toni has defined shoulders, etched abs, and a great smile. Justin Stove of the USA had a great v-taper, and sound muscularity to finish fourth. In fifth was Endika Gil Gonzales of WNBF Spain who had beautifully capped shoulders and big biceps. The International competitors dominated these classes and made them super exciting.
In the overall, we had two very complete class champions go to battle it out for the overall. In a very close call, David Galan prevailed and became a two-time WNBF Pro Men’s Physique World Champion.
Our final Pro category of the day was WNBF Pro Bikini with 39 athletes representing countries all over the World. Participation was high so we were able to offer three height classes. In the Short class, Italy’s Eleonora Ambroggi won with excellent structure and sound muscularity. With four different competitors receiving first place votes, you could see this class was very deep. The runner up was USA‘s Brittany Ritland with defined arms and perfect skin tone. Nicole Hitchcock of Australia had a very sassy stage presence, along with detailed muscularity from the back and that helped her claim third place. Sonja Hofer of Switzerland was complete and well prepared for her Pro debut, and her elegant lines helped her to a fourth-place finish. Fifth place went to Wendy Hyatt of the USA. Wendy is gorgeous on stage with a great smile and matching physique.
The Medium class had fourteen great athletes including the 2017 Reigning WNBF Overall Bikini World Champion of the USA, Shauna Koehler. Shauna has great lines and condition, shapely legs, and one of the best presentations on stage. She successfully won her class. By a 1-point difference, in second was Alessia Ferari, the 2018 Italian Champion in her pro debut. Alessia has an excellent physique, and will continue to place well as she gains more experience on stage. Third place went to USA‘s Natalie Chase who had a great year, winning pro status at the INBF Northeast Classic, and then went on to win the tall class of the Pro Monster Mash. Her physique is also very complete, with nice symmetry. USA‘s Stephanie Perrault is gorgeous on stage, has a very classic bikini look, and great presentation coming in 4th. Giulia Menis of Italy took the 5th place award with great quads, a beautiful suit, and she exuding sheer joy on stage.
Our Pro Bikini Tall class was comprised of twelve beautiful ladies. Convincingly winning the class was Reannan Rhodes, Australia’s 2018 AWNBS Evolution Champion. Reannan has a statuesque and gorgeous physique which she displayed perfectly on stage. In second, Nikkita Allain of New York, USA presented nice curves, shapely legs, and a sparkle in her smile. Third Place went to Taylor Whiteford from Australia who had defined abs and great calves. Morgan Smith of the USA finished fourth with very nice shape, and just needing a bit more conditioning. Kathryn Kampfe also from the USA took the fifth spot also displaying very shapely legs, and a great smile.
The Overall was exciting with three great competitors from their respective classes and countries. Shauna Koehler was able to edge out both class winners to take her second WNBF World Overall Bikini title.
All of the phenomenal Pros, 143 in total, from so many different countries made this event incredibly special. It is a long hard road to get to Worlds and we are proud of each and every athlete who trained all year to bring their best to Los Angeles. The 2018 LA Worlds was a huge success and all who attended left with a smile on their face and a huge appreciation of how far a natural body has come worldwide. There were amazing competitors in all categories, and we watched with deep satisfaction as they were able to meet new friends with common interests from all over the World. This is something they will hold onto for the rest of their lives.
The event in 2019 will be the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the WNBF. The event is planned for New York and we are so excited to see everyone there. For 2019, all US WNBF Pros need to qualify to compete in the 2019 WNBF Pro World Championships by competing in a 2019 WNBF Pro event. Other ways to qualify include placing in the top 3 at the 2018 WNBF World Championship or holding a WNBF Overall Pro World title. We will no longer allow title holders to walk directly into Worlds. This is a little change from previous Worlds so plan accordingly. We are looking forward to seeing you all in 2019! Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date or visit our website, www.WorldNaturalBB.com
The Amateur group was also incredibly well represented with amazing international athletes totaling 139. We began with the age classes wherein many of these athletes also crossed into Open divisions where they were equally competitive. Henry Manning represented the United Kingdom in Junior bodybuilding, and was incredibly detailed and chiseled throughout his very complete physique. Cian Brennan of Ireland was also in great shape as the runner up.
There were great Juniors representing Men’s Physique too. Chadric Palaad of the USA nailed it with awesome muscularity, great condition and superb posing. Conor McCarthy of Ireland displayed very solid upper body muscle in second place. Patxi Gutierrez Manzano, a WNBF Spain champion, was third with thick abdominals, and striated shoulders.
On to the Masters groups, and we began with Women’s Bodybuilding. Jody Moltz of Canada won with LA, USA local, Gail Bell displaying solid muscularity in second. Next was the Men’s Grandmasters where USA‘s Henry Elsom was simply ripped to unanimously win the class. Ji Chen Gang from China was thickly muscled in second, and third place went to the SNBF Swiss champion, Bernd Wilhof.
The Men’s over 40 group had the UK’s Oliver Perry winning with incredibly detailed legs. Kenneth Lo from Canada also had great detail, and big arms for second while third place went to Fabio Barazzutti who had won the Italian championships, and also the WNBF Germany event. Lorraine Hills displayed exceptionally detailed muscle to win Masters Fit Body, with Pro Figure athlete Sue Ann Smith in second. Masters Figure was quite competitive with Lorna Giuotto representing Italy to win. Lorna had also won in Germany, and she displays beautiful lines with good conditioning. Second place went to Australia’s Linda White who showed off thick delts, and Jody Moltz was muscular enough for third. Monica Perez Gonzalvo of Spain had incredible stage presentation, and Annita Lavecchia of Italy was fifth with beautiful symmetry. Finally, we had Masters Bikini with Lydia Mauer of Switzerland winning with great lines, and a detailed back. Rachele Cucurnia wore an exquisite suit, and presented great confidence on stage. Third place went to Danielle Hull who had shapely muscles, and Italy’s Dana Sadecka was much improved from 2017 for fourth place. LA’s own Judi East was decidedly fifth.
Worlds is a Super Pro-qualifier, so all Open classes with the required number of athletes were awarded Pro cards. We again started with Women’s Bodybuilding. Michelle Lawrence of the UK was unanimously first, with sound muscularity and a wide back. The runner up was USA‘s Clarissa Thompson with superb symmetry, and thick quads. Ayako Joubert from the USA is only 23, but she is truly a bodybuilder! She had full muscles and big biceps. Fourth place went to Figure Pro, Mary Bell of the USA, and it was clear she was having so much fun with the poses! Melissa Hall from the USA was also thickly muscled, but this was a really tough class as she was able to hold fifth place.
There were 5 weight classes for the men, and the Bantams went up to 150 lbs. Rosario Galgano had won his class in Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and he won it here as well. His conditioning was enough to edge out Chris Paling from the United Kindgom was the runner up. Chris was the UK’s champion and he displayed hard abdominals and superb posing. Third place went to Cian Brennan of Ireland, and Rafael Luque Moyano, a champion of WNBF Spain, displayed diced legs for fourth. Nik Prenrecaj of Switzerland was fifth with tons of potential. Joel Ramintas of Australia is an incredibly compete bodybuilder as he’s won a Lot of events. He was the best on this Worlds stage with perfect symmetry and thick defined muscularity. Salvatore Buscemi of Italy was the runner up with nice detail and a brilliant abdominal pose. There was a tie for third with WNBF China’s Ji Cheng Gang edging out Dan Quach with a bit more muscularity. Michael Bokelman from the USA got some great experience in 2018, and he placed fifth.
There were 13 middleweights, and this was a great class to watch! Frederik Ipsen of Denmark is really thick with huge arms, and a wide back, he really dominated this class. There was a tie for second with Carlos Campos, the 2018 WNBF Spain Champ, displaying excellent hamstrings, and fellow Masters athlete, Henry Elsom was equally well conditioned and so that’s why it came to a tie. Another UK champion, Andrzej Krawczyk, had a great quad sweep in fourth place, and the last finalist was Stephen Srein of Texas, USA who definitely has a bright future.
Another great Italian athlete, Romeo Zhupa, presented solid muscularity to declare himself the Light-Heavyweight winner. Henry Manning who won the Juniors group was second here, and Simon Collins of Ireland showed off a striated physique in third. Ming Zhe Han of China has nice symmetry, and claimed fourth while Yves Zwyssig, the junior champion from Switzerland finished in fifth. Only three men were over 190 lbs. Oli Perry of the USA the Masters champ won here as well, and Roberto Amorosi Hernandez of WNBF Spain looked fantastic with no weak areas. Another veteran athlete, Dennis Horton from LA, USA and so was excited to be on this Worlds stage again.
In the Overall, Joel Ramintas dominated, and Frederik Ipsen and Romeo Zhupa also walked away with WNBF Pro Cards.
The Open Fit Body class saw the Masters champ, Lorraine Hills of the UK win again with excellent condition. Ivonne Ramirez was representing Switzerland, and she too was in top shape. Sue Ann Smith led in symmetry to gain third, and fellow UKBFBA athlete, Karla Evans showed off beautiful shoulders and arms in fourth place. Also from the SNBF, Chrisley Kobel made the top five with beautifully defined quads.
Next up was Open figure with 13 in the short class. Felicia Thomas of the USA had the perfect blend of muscularity and great symmetry to unanimously win this class. Terese Clausen of Denmark had great stage presentation, and awesome shape in second place. There was a tie for third, and Majken Tind, also of Denmark was a bit sharper to edge the beautiful lines displayed by USA‘s Liz Mason. Clarissa Thompson of the USA is always in contention, and made the fifth place position in this competitive class. The Tall group had 11 beauties, and four of them had first place votes. Carolina Alfieri from the Italy had perfect structure, and solid shoulders to win this class. The runner up was Switzerland’s Ivonne Ramirez with nicely separated quads. A tie for third yielded USA‘s Loriel Hennington’s beautiful lines able to edge out the Swiss Champion, Severina Huber. Chrisley Kobel from the USA, also from the Fit Body class was solid in fifth place. Finally for the overall, Felicia Thomas’ overall muscularity was better while both ladies were awarded well deserved WNBF Pro cards.
Men’s Physique was super exciting with 29 total athletes. In the short class, the Junior Champ from the USA, Chadric Palaad dominated with outstanding v-taper and phenomenal posing. Another Jr from Spain, Patxi Gutierrez Manzano was second, and Jannick Jarnsborg, the Danish Champion displayed great muscularity and a thick back. Giunluca Proietti of Italy commanded the stage with great presentation and smile, and fellow countrymen Marco Cioli had dominant deltoids to edge USA’s Andrea Celia in a tie for fifth. Next, the Tall class was also incredibly competitive. Levi Walker was the UKDFBA Champion, and his detailed upper body was excellent. Majkell Marjakaj of Switzerland was second with thick shoulders and solid calves. Zachariah O’Connor of the USA is really tall with a really balanced physique. He prepped well and looked great on stage. Clifford Sargento from the USA also prepared well in terms of posing and stage presence, and had solid muscularity. Antonio Mellone of Italy made the top five in this tough group with well developed abdominals and a solid chest. When Chadric and Levi had finished several quarter turns, it was apparent that Chadric was just Dead On. His posing was sensational, and his physique polished. His emotion was evident as he was announced as the 2018 Overall World Champion.
There were 14 lovely ladies in the Bikini short group as prejudging for them began at about 4:00 pm. Lisa Reid of Australia showed off beautiful full muscles and great stage presence to edge out Claudia Messa of Italy. Claudia was also stunning on stage with capped shoulders. Roberta Santiago from Florida, USA was third with nice muscularity. The fourth spot went to USA‘s Minh Thi Xiong with beautifully developed legs, and rounding out the top five was Laura Gallagher, the Irish Champion who displayed nice arms and great shape. In the Tall class, Alexandra Dancso, the UK Champion had perfect symmetry and the right amount of muscle to fill out her frame. The runner up was USA’s Loriel Hennington who also showed well in the Figure category. Caitlin Stofferahn from the USA is over 6 feet without the heels, and she commands a beautiful classic bikini look on stage perfectly. Sarah Jane Cox of Australia wore an elegant green suit to accentuate her tiny waist, and she edged out her teammate Lauren Palmer of the USA who finished fifth. It was nearly midnight, but the group cheering “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” had plenty of energy left as Lisa Reid was announced as the World Champion.
To say that this Worlds was simply Amazing is simply an understatement. The International representation was stronger than ever before, and the overall high quality of athletes was phenomenal. We are so incredibly proud of all of the hard work that so many have put in to make the WNBF federation grow, and our excitement and anticipation for the 30th anniversary of Worlds in 2019 is Sky High! See you next November in New York!!
Thank You again to all of our Worlds Sponsors, and we will see you all at Worlds in New York!