HomeArticlesChristian Duque

Hadi Choopan Wins The 2024 Arnold Classic UK!


by Christian Duque

What a world-class production at the Arnold Classic Uk. Promoter Arnold Schwarzenegger hit it out of the park with another blockbuster production and bodybuilding fans from all over the world were excited to see professional bodybuilding across the pond in the United Kingdom.

Hadi achieved another major win after Columbus with Samson taking runner-up just like at the flagship competition in the United States. Both guys brought more muscle, more striations, and more heart to win the Arnold UK. Although Hadi sacrificed a little bit of his signature condition it was still not enough of a blunder to allow Samson to get the win. These two guys went to war in the prejudging and the finals. They battled hard – pose after pose – trying to win over the judges. And after the results were read out by Bob Cicherillo (the voice of bodybuilding) it clearly established a major rivalry that will surely continue for months and years to come. Both Hadi and Samson are phenomenal bodybuilders that exude everything good about the sport from their training, to their meals, to battling on stage. They know how to give the fans the kind of competition that will keep them glued to their screens and at the edge of their seats throughout the entire event. That is the power of bodybuilding whether in 2024, 1976, or 60 years ago for the first-ever Mr. Olympia. Fans of muscle can never get enough when the athletes are 100% driven and want to win more than anything on the planet. Everyone that competed at this world-class production brought their A-game and wanted that title badly.

Let’s talk about the athletes especially those that deserve special mention as they are what made the show great. Let’s start with the champ. Hadi did a phenomenal job and really came in under the radar for this show. The major issue with him over the years has always been whether or not he can secure a visa. Instead of making a lot of noise about what he was going to do and how he was going to look, Hadi’s team worked quietly and were able to secure him a visa. As soon as he put foot on the United Kingdom the word spread throughout the message boards and the Facebook groups like wildfire. People were so excited to see their 2024 United States Arnold Classic champion in the United Kingdom that they could not stop talking about the potential for yet another win in picture perfect form.

We cannot forget the fact that Hadi is the 2022 to Mr Olympia and that now all eyes are on him to take out the guy who took him out in 2023 Derek Lunsford. While Derek is very busy doing the business of bodybuilding he cannot help but notice what his fellow sponsored athlete is doing. Not only is he winning big titles but he is getting better and better and he is looking far superior to the condition in which he lost the Olympia just a few months ago. Although Hadi will not be guest posing in Pittsburgh and he may not be doing a lot of meet and greets he is making up for it by winning and winning big. This is the second time in one month that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the most well-known bodybuilder in the world, has walked center stage and brought Hadi a trophy and a check. If you don’t think that that raises Hadi’s stock in the sport, then I don’t know what to tell you.

The bottom line is that Hadi is doing what he needs to do to ensure that the fans, the judges, and the media sees him as the number one contender. And what’s interesting is we’re seeing a repeat of 2022. During 2022 when Hadi held the title very few people were talking about him because at the time Derek Lunsford was stealing a lion’s share of the publicity by doing guest posing appearances, in-store appearances, and plenty of interviews. What we are seeing now is that Hadi is stealing the spotlight from the reigning champion not by doing those things but by winning major titles. His chief competition is Samson, Akim Williams, John Delarosa, but not the reigning Mr Olympia.

This is because the reigning Mr Olympia is only going to do the Mr Olympia which means he is not going to grab any headlines at least until next November. In the meantime Hadi is the one everybody is talking about, Hadi is the one that’s winning all the big titles, Hadi is the one that the media wants to talk to you. In many real ways Derek is going to have to step it up because if he doesn’t he’s going to be a ghost of a Mr Olympia just like Hadi was during his reign, but for entirely different reasons.

Now I would be remiss as a writer if I didn’t talk about Samson. Here is a guy who last week put out a Instagram story where he said that he felt like his body “was falling apart” and how he had to go to the hospital. This publication sent shockwaves throughout the sport of bodybuilding. I wrote an article for Iron Magazine and I also did an Instagram live where I talked about the need for this great champion to consider taking a break from the stage. Although exhaustion is common it is not common for a top three Olympian and a former Arnold Classic champion to take to social media to basically say that he’s one step away from serious health issues. And to say that right before another major competition which as it turns out pitted him against the guy that beat him in Columbus, Ohio was certainly nothing to overlook. Well I got some flack for giving it attention I felt like it was a cry for help from the bodybuilder. As it turns out there was nothing health-wise wrong with him at least not as far as we can see based on his last outing. What we did see as a result of that story was him leaving his long-time coach Milos Sarcev.

Apparently the fact he left his longtime coach didn’t really have any kind of an impact as he finished top two at the Arnold UK and was battling with Hadi for the title all the way down to the wire. That being said many people in the sport of bodybuilding had their fingers crossed that nothing bad would happen at the UK show. Again we have seen a lot of guys not take their health seriously over the years. Some with minor consequences, while others with far more serious ones. We have seen guys in their 20’s all the way to guys in their 50s not take their health seriously and pay the price in the end. I still don’t know what that weird Instagram story was about, but Hadi was definitely concerned with the package that Samson brought. This guy was not messing around and he wanted to settle the score from Columbus. Unfortunately even though Hadi was not nearly as conditioned he was still conditioned enough to keep the giant at bay.

Akim Williams most definitely deserves a lion’s share of praise. The Brooklyn Beast brought a phenomenal package with tons upon tons of muscle and excellent condition. He has always been one of the larger bodybuilders and he’s certainly is a fan favorite. Seeing him flex his quads and show us that insane upper body with that type midsection quite frankly was enough for me to say that he totally belonged in the top three.

Fellow New York bodybuilder John Delarosa was also spot on and everyone agreed deserve that that fourth place spot was well-deserved. Between Jon and Akim they rounded out the top four perfectly. The other guys looked really good but I would say that the Arnold UK was about the four men we are talking about in this article. It was very much a battle between Hadi and Samson as well as Akim and Jon. Yhose two battles alone I think gave the fans a tremendous amount of production value for their money.

What I will say also about the rivalry between Hadi and Samson is that there is a tremendous amount of good sportsmanship and camaraderie involved. I have never seen two men congratulate themselves as much as these two elite level bodybuilders did at the Arnold UK. It was refreshing to see a competitive rivalry as opposed to one based on personal attacks and pettiness. These guys exemplify everything that we want to present to the world about the sport of bodybuilding. They understand that the decision is not theirs, rather, that of the judges. They keep it very classy on stage and when it’s all said and done they are truly happy for the guy that wins and very very gracious in victory. The reality of the matter is is that this is a far cry from 2014 when Phil and Kai were elbowing each other on stage to the point that NBC could not air the Olympia that year. It’s great to see two elite level bodybuilders take the sport so seriously and have so much mutual respect that they would never stain it with bad sportsmanship or immaturity.

What did you think of the show? Did the right person win and did you agree with the scoring and placing of the competitors? All in all I think the Arnold UK continued the tradition of the Arnold USA. These shows are truly giving the fans their money’s worth and I suspect the Arnold Brazil will be another world-class production. Finally I believe that Hadi and Samson both will go into the 2024 Mr Olympia with a tremendous amount of potential to upset the apple cart. I don’t like the fact that Mr Olympia – whether it’s Derek or any other Mr Olympia – only competes one time a year. Then again that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

We have also seen Mr Olympia’s that have made the mistake of doing the Arnold Classic only to nearly lose the big title later in the year. But big is relative and very subjective as Arnold intends his show in Columbus to become the biggest show in the sport by 2025 and beyond. Only time will tell who will win the 2024 Olympia but both Hadi and Samson will be going into it with a tremendous amount of momentum.

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