2017 Worlds Recap
Our Biggest Championship Competition to Date
A Truly Natural and International Event
325 atheletes from states across the U.S. and 16 countries abroad.
Boston is a sports city, and the fans and competitors did not disappoint. The level of competition at the 2017 Championships raised the bar to the highest levels in the history of WNBF/INBF competition. Our competitors are among the most respected natural atheletes in the world, due in large part to our stringent drug testing policies, which ensure truly natural competition.
A special Thank You to Angelica Vlahos Photography for covering the 2017 INBF/WNBF World Championships!
The Highest Level of Natural Competition
A mix of old and new Pros made this year’s event very interesting. In fact, over a half dozen competitors have been competing as natural athletes at the Pro level for 15 to 20+ years, including:
- Jean Francois Alcantud
- Reggie Allen
- Candace Hatch
- Marshall Johnson
- Amy Llinas Lynch
- Martin Ortiz
- Sheila Zitano
It is a testament to our sport that these competitors continue to improve and can compete at the highest levels for such a long time.
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Pro Men’s Bodybuilding
The anticipation for this World Championships was huge, as all were waiting to see who would be there. All three class winners were incredible, but all knew the Overall was going to be a battle between the Middleweights and Heavyweights.
As they went through the symmetry round most gave the nod to Babacar, but moving into the posing round, things became more difficult with both men really looking good in every shot.
As the judges watched more, neither gave anything away. Even during the pose down, many judges were still trying to make a decision, it was that close.
In a 4-3 result, Babacar Niang became the 2017 WNBF Overall Men’s Bodybuilding World Champion. He joins the prestigious club of WNBF Overall World Champions. His signature JUMP FOR JOY has been circulating the internet since the show!
The Pro Heavyweight Men came to stage just as strong, and prepared as the other two classes. The competition was exteme.
Placing 1st, Sam Watt, from the UK, was closely tied to Okunola in conditioning, but boasted even more size to clinch the win.
Runner-up Samuel Okunola, winner of the 2017 Pro USA in California, has the total package.
In third place with a very complete package, Nigel St. Lewis, from the UK,reminds us of a larger version of a great WNBF Champion – Clarence McGill.
In fourth place, Bada Lekan, no stranger to the Pro stage, had the size but needed to be a bit leaner.
Vincent Lawrence, from Florida, placed fifth in his Pro debut; with his height and additional size, he will surely be a future contender.
Placing sixth, Daniel Mucha is a new Pro from the UK.
Andrew Usaro, placed seventh in his WNBF World Debut, with a very complete physique and will be one to watch in the future as he builds onto a great base.
Tishay Johnson, a crowd favorite, rounds out the class in eighth place. Just came off a win in the Pro Master’s American he was at his personal best, with more conditioning he should be able to move up with this group.
The Middleweight class included many WNBF Pro title holders, and the judging panel definitely had their work cut out for them.
Babacar Niang, was outstanding, placing first in the Middleweight Class and clinching the Overall win, with great lines and superior symmetry and muscularity.
Placing second, Martin Ortiz is a 2-time WNBF Lightweight Champion (2014, 2016).
With a very complete physique, Allesandro Manfredi took third place.
Ben Wortley, from Australia, placed fourth in his Pro debut with spot-on condition but lacking just a little size.
In fifh place, Reggie Allen, a 20-year WNBF competitor, had great muscle maturity.
Arty Posluszny, showing great symmetry and a much improved physique, placed sixth.
Coming off a 2017 WNBF Pro Universe win, Ish Lytle placed seventh.
Marshall Johnson, a true ambassador to the sport, placed eighth.
The light weight class went up 157 lbs, but on stage these guys looked huge. This was a new group of men as for the first time, the lightweight class featured many new athletes and no previous champions. The Lightweight class also featured many International competitors. The Italians were in full force taking fifth through third.
Brett Freeman,of New York, placed first in his Pro Worlds debut. Brett had a great year winning the overall INBF Naturalmania Bantamweight class and Overall. It is not often a Bantamweight wins the overall, but when they do they need to be complete and have size to compare with heavier competitors. Brett had the total package, and was clearly ecstatic to win this ultra-competitive class.
Runner-up, Damian Lees, from the UK is always a contender and in top shape.
The final three spots went to the Italian team: Flaviano Gelmini in 3rd place, Matteo Petrucci in fourth place, and Marco Bassi in fifth place.
Pro Women’s Bodybuilding
Women’s bodybuilding is a category the WNBF is very proud to host. We have continued to get lots of participation, and will always offer natural women this opportunity. Twenty women crossed the stage in this category showing super symmetrical, shapely, and muscular physiques. Top to bottom, every competitor in this class did their homework and brought their best.
The top two in the lightweight class were very clear – the battle was between Laurie Coe, the winner, and Lisa Lum, the runner up.
In 2016, Laurie competed as a heavyweight, but this year was able to dial in a little sharper. As they went through the poses, Laurie was carrying just enough extra muscle to get the judges nod in a unanimous win. Lisa Lum, the 2016 WNBF Overall World Champion, had a very strong showing.
With those two out, there were eight women left for a very close competition.
Kristin Fonseca, one of the best posers grabbed the third spot.
Massachusetts’ native and longtime competitor, Mighty Mouse – Dawn Brophy finished fourth. Dawn has a tremendous upper body and used that to impress the judges.
And the final placement finisher, all the way from the Faroe Islands was Jorun Morkore. Jorun really turned it on when she began posing. She displayed great condition and overall muscularity.
Again, there were lots of new faces in the heavyweight class. The 2016 WNBF World Heavyweight Champion, Cathy Vail announced her retirement shortly after the 2016 show. With Cathy stepping down, the door opened for many new people. Cathy has always been a force in bodybuilding, and she is a great champion on and off the stage.
Candace Hatch of Wisconsin returned to stage in 2016, winning the Pro American in June of 2016 and placing fourth as a heavyweight in Worlds. Candace was determined to bring her best in 2017, and the plan worked as Candace easily won her class and the overall.
Second in the heavyweight class was Jenna Kruger of Massachusetts. Jenna started the year with a bang winning the 2017 WNBF Pro American in June, and she competed in a number of WNBF fall shows making it an exciting season. Jenna carries a ton of muscle, and used that to place second.
Third place was Angela Olsen of Los Angeles. Angela offers a great total package but was giving up a lot of size with this group.
In fourth, from Team UK was Yvette Arthur. Yvette improved from her 2016 version and also continues to improve her presentation.
In the final spot was Massachusetts native, Heather Latta. This is her second season as a pro, and she has a very bright future ahead. Great symmetry, good size and good presentation set her above other contenders.
Pro Fit Body
2017 brought one of the largest fields of athletes that we have seen in the World Championships for the FitBody category.
Tracy Rabbitt returned to claim her third World Title with unanimous first place votes.
Runner up and newcomer to the WNBF, was Elise Kohl Grant from New York. Elise was phenomenal in her pro Worlds debut. She brought a very complete package with great condition, posing and overall muscularity.
Kim Prince of Australia grabbed the third spot with great condition and beautiful posing.
From Canada, Melissa Vuckovic, our 2017 WNBF Pro Universe Champion took the fourth position. Her conditioning is what made her stand out from the crowd.
New Hampshire’s own Barbara Woo grabbed the fifth spot. Barbara was runner up at the WNBF Us Cup in Pro Figure but showed here she is a top challenger in Fitbody.
Since the class was so large, we awarded out to eighth place. Heidi Lavalley from Rhode Island took sixth. Candace Foxx of Texas was in seventh and the final placement awarded went to a new California Promoter for the INBF, Lise Ha Pham.
Figure Short Class
The Figure short class had a mix of new and veteran competitors.
Dawn Reis of Massachusetts pulled off her second win in the month of November. She won the Pro Monster Mash two weeks earlier to qualify to Worlds. Dawn has great structure, good presentation and condition, and she used this to win the class.
Another Massachusetts competitor and ER Doctor was Stacy Peterson in second. Stacy had a difficult year with some medical issues, but she worked all year to be ready for this Worlds.
In third place and showing consistent improvement was Stacy Theofilopoulis. Stacy covered all details and came through with her best placement.
Carmen Hormoza spends lots of time preparing other competitors at her gym in Connecticut, and it was great to see her on stage for her first Worlds and crack into the top five.
Our final placement in the short figure class was 50 year old, Heather Sue Murphy. Heather Sue is a little powerhouse with lots of muscle on her tiny frame! Heather displayed great condition and poise to grab the fifth spot.
Figure Tall Class
The Figure tall class was the deepest class in the show. I had the pleasure to head judge this class and it was pretty amazing.
In the closest call on the women’s side, Katie Anne Rutherford pulled off the victory with a one point difference. Katie Anne had a little better balance top to bottom, and a better v-taper which gave her the votes she needed to win. Katie Anne went on to win the overall with unanimous votes.
Runner-up Stephanie Cain, had just come off a Pro Fitbody win in Georgia, and a pro Figure win at the US Cup in Connecticut. She was hoping to add one more title to her 2017 list, but fell just short.
Sophie Browne, the 2016 WNBF Pro Fitbody World Champion and WNBF multi title holder, ended up in third. Sophie was a little off her best mark at Worlds, but still very good.
When multi-WNBF World Champion Amy Llinas Lynch comes to a show in shape and ends up fourth, you know there had to be some pretty incredible people competing.
Edna Ferrer came from California and was ready to compete. Edna has great shape and awesome potential as she was awarded fifth place.
The 2017 WNBF World Championships brought the largest group of Pro bikini competitors thus far who were divided into 3 classes. The only woman to win the WNBF Pro Bikini World Champion title, Leigha Hervey, decided to sit this year out leaving the title open for a new champion.
Bikini – Short Class
Long Island native and 2017 WNBF Pro Ms. Universe, Victoria Gonzalez won the class showing a classic bikini look with great lines and condition. With a one point difference, Victoria was able grab the top spot.
Pushing her on every pose was runner-up Kelly Sullivan. Kelly has been a contender in all of the pro bikini shows she has entered, and this was no different.
Brittany Ritland had an amazing year winning the Novice and Open INBF Northeast Classic Bikini titles and entering her first Worlds, she placed in the money. Brittany has a great overall look. Each time she has competes, she gets better so we will see what 2018 brings.
In fourth, 50 year old Marybeth Turner is like fine wine, she improves with age. Coming into this event, she already won a number of Master’s titles including the 2017 Pro Master’s American Champion. Marybeth is great on stage and her condition was spot on.
Our final placement went to Danika Johnson of Vermont. Danika was fantastic on stage and is one to watch in the future.
Bikini – Medium Class
The medium class had a number first time Worlds contenders. The call between first and second was a tough one with two great ladies with totally different looks.
Winning the class and going on to win the overall was Shauna Koehler of New York. Shauna had lots of seconds as an amateur, and she took two years off to refine her physique. Not only did she win pro status at the INBF Naturalmania, she pulled off an overall WNBF Bikini title at the 2017 WNBF Pro Monster Mash and Overall World Title.
The runner up spot went to Joanna Clayton of New York, and I am sure Joanna’s day will come as she has all you need to win.
Placing in the money for the first time as a pro was Wendy Hiatt. Wendy brought a personal best and shined on stage to grab third.
In fourth, the INBF Granite State Overall bikini champion, Olivia Knox, showed she belongs on a pro stage. Olivia has a great overall package, and is very strong from the back.
Jen Sulewski, the 2017 Pro American Bikini champion took fifth.
Bikini – Tall Class
The tall group represented a number of different countries which was exciting to watch. All placement winners across the board excelled in all scoring aspects of bikini.
Virginia Massitek, our tall class winner and most improved bikini competitor, hails from Italy. Virginia has been on a World stage a number of times, but this time dialed in her condition and stage presentation to win the class.
With great condition and traveling all the way from Australia, Jessica Johnson earned the runner-up position.
With model looks and a statuesque physique to match, WNBF Affiliate President from Germany, Teresa Shumacher placed third.
In a tie for third, a 4-3 decision landed Maria Cecilia Byrne of the Philippines in fourth. Maria is a new Pro, and showed all that she can compete on a World stage.
Alison Cameron Perry, of Martha’s Vineyard, placed fifth.
Pro Master’s Bikini
We added Pro Master’s Bikini to our classes, a first at the WNBF Pro Championships.
Marybeth Turner showed she could compare to younger ladies by placing in the bikini short class. Among the Masters she dominated with a very fit physique and great stage presence.
In second, our WNBF Pro Hercules Overall Bikini Champion, Debbie Pillsbury. Debbie has classic lines, and is stunning on stage.
The third spot went to Karen Wilkinson. Karen was the best conditioned of the group and used that to score with the judges.
In fourth, another very well-conditioned athlete was Kim McManus.
Our final placement was Marnie Hoolihan, with great proportions and conditioning.
Pro Men’s Physique
Going into our third Worlds event featuring Men’s Physique, another new person was named World Champion. The category has grown tremendously, and the turn out for this event was excellent.
De Angelis Cosimo, taking first place, is from the very strong NBFI Italian team. This win makes him the third WNBF Pro World Physique Champion.
With great lines and presentation, Ruben Salas, from California, placed a very close second.
Jemel Sessoms, with classic lines, great condition and presentation, place third.
After a very successful season, Randy Johnson was able to use his well-conditioned physique to finish fourth. Randy has fared well in many WNBF events and is one to watch in the future.
Sully Fondeur finished in fifth in his Pro Worlds debut. Sully had a very complete physique and great overall look.
2016 World Champion, Melvin Ortiz fell to sixth.
From Newport, RI, Jerimiah O’Connor continues to improve and was able to finish seventh. Jerimiah has what it takes and just needs to be a little better conditioned.
Tequan Dorsey was runner up at the 2017 WNBF Pro Iron Eagle, yet at the Worlds competition, he finished eighth.
We would like to Congratulate all athletes for their incredible accomplishments, as well as another huge thank you to our sponsors, event staff, and the amazing supporters who turned out to support 2017 Worlds in Boston!