It may have seemed like just a formality as an IFBB memo dated May 10, 2011. It read:
To: All IFBB Professional League Male Bodybuilders
From: IFBB Professional League
Please be advised that the 202-lb and under category is changed to 212-lb and under. This change will take effect at the Sacramento Pro on November 5, 2011.
Short and to the point, but this can have a big effect on the future of not only the lighter class, but the men’s open, as well. Competitors that were on the bubble of making the 202 can now maintain a larger physique and still go head-to-head with the likes of Kevin English and David Henry. When Eduardo Correa and Seth Feroce both announced that they intended on moving up to the open class, it was a smart move by the IFBB to keep some of the popular names back in the 202/212.
This also opens the door for someone like Hidetada Yamagishi, who has done quite well for himself in the open but has a build that can dominate as a 212 competitor. Especially in the major shows on the calendar, Hide’s diminutive stature has worked against him. It may behoove him to consider this move.
The 202 and under will still be in effect at the Olympia, but the landscape will look a whole lot different come November.