• 27 August, 2023



Strongman Open & World Deadlift Championships, 2nd September, Utilita Arena Cardiff, Cardiff

Is the waiting finally over? Will the illusive 505kg deadlift at last be realised? It’s been seven long years since Eddie Hall pulled the half tonne and many have failed in their endeavours to better it. Next Saturday night, in front of yet another sell-out crowd, the world’s finest exponents of strongman’s most “alpha” lift will be attempting to re-write the record books as the Utilita Arena Cardiff hosts the Giants Live Strongman Open and World Deadlift Championships

heinla dl record

With every single ticket sold, deadlift gods such as Jamal Browner, Graham Hicks, defending champion Rauno Heinla, and Lucy Underdown are now only available to watch on livestream at Fourteen men will be making their assault on strongman’s holiest of holies, with $50,000 going to anyone who can equal or better 505kg (1,113lb). As a special guest lifter, Britain’s Lucy Underdown, the undisputed queen of the women’s deadlift, will be attempting to break her own 305kg world record. And that’s just event one!

britain's strongest woman and england's strongest man preview Giants Live

Once the deadlift has reached its climax, twelve athletes will continue through four more punishing events to determine who will claim the Strongman Open title that Ukraine’s Pavlo Nakonechnyy won last year. Dumbbell Medley, Wrecking Ball Hold, Load & Push and Castle Stones complete the event schedule and with Strongman Classic winner, Evan Singleton and 2020 World’s Strongest Man, Oleksii Novikov, in attendance – two of Giants Live’s most prolific winners – this promises to be a contest strength fans will not want to miss!

505KG Contenders

Estonia’s Rauno Heinla took top honours in last year’s World Deadlift Championships (WDC) with his 476kg Master’s World Record. The veteran lifter, now 41, seems to be stronger than ever having recently bettered Oleksii Novikov’s 18-inch deadlift world record with a 540kg (1,1192lb) lift. In training, his 460kg effort looked even better that the same lift he achieved in preparation for last year’s contest, and many believe that if he can get the record-breaking bar to his knees, he has the power to lock it out.

Makarov giants live

With expected increments of 400kg, 430kg, 453.5kg (1,000lb), 470kg and 505kg, Ivan Makarov will need to decide whether to take the penultimate lift, or skip it, as he did last year, and jump straight from 1,000lb to the record he has now unsuccessfully attempted on five occasions. Many believe the Georgian will raise 505kg to just below his knees where it will once again defy his best efforts to move any higher, but if his recent 486kg training lift is to be given credibility, he looks to be in the best condition of his life.

Britain’s Graham Hicks also appears to be stronger than ever having devoted the last six months to preparing for his assault on the record. Last year he made light work of joining the 1,000lb club despite only just recovering from two years or recurring groin strains. Hicksy’s previous best was a “modest” 400kg from back in 2014, but now he is zeroing in on the record: “You’re never really satisfied with any number. You’re always going to strive for more. I see 500kg plus and that’s where I’m going.”

Footage from his YouTube channel has fuelled speculation that the Morecombe man is capable of eclipsing Hall’s record, with 450kg looking comfortable, indicating plenty more is in the tank. A planned 470kg final training lift was aborted due to some mild hamstring discomfort and hopefully this will not hamper his performance on the night.

Road to 505 powered by Gymshark Graham Hicks

Making his debut on a strongman stage and competing in just the WDC, will be America’s Jamal Browner, a powerlifting sensation and internet personality who has deadlifted 500kg – more than anyone in today’s field – using the sumo style, which is prohibited in strongman. Despite his lack of mass, when compared to his behemoth competitors, Jamal is capable of some outrageous conventional deadlifts, having repped 435kg in the gym, without the aid of a lifting suit.

He is the all-time world record holder in powerlifting, competing raw, in the 110kg class and though bulked up to 122kg, he will be the lightest man in this contest. Accustomed to lifting raw, it looks likely that Jamal will be deadlifting without a suit and will be targeting the 1,000lb barrier. Browner’s strength is staggering and his presence at these championships will be fascinating to witness.

On Borrowed Time: Women’s Deadlift World Record

Appearing as a special guest lifter, Lucy Underdown, a police officer from Kent and undisputed queen of the women’s deadlift, will be attempting to break her own world record. On 31st May 2021, she became the first woman to lift 300kg in the deadlift, a feat that no other woman has yet emulated. She recently improved her record to 305kg and will tonight attempt to raise it still further.

Lucy has managed to make 300kg deadlifts appear almost routine and she has equalled or exceeded this load numerous times in training. If her preparatory lifts go to plan and she is feeling at her best, there’s rumour she may event attempt 320kg, which would take her beyond the 700lb barrier – a truly astonishing achievement!

The Strongman Open Challengers

With last year’s victor, Pavlo Nakonechnyy, side-lined by a persistent knee injury and a recent car crash, a new winner is guaranteed and there are several men who could pose a threat in the World Deadlift Championships as well as the Strongman Open.

Evan Singleton (USA) and Oleksii Novikov of the Ukraine both achieved 1,000lb deadlifts in Manchester in 2021, on a night when no less than seven men successfully lifted 453.5kg. With the huge energy expenditure and injury potential that comes with the territory when max deadlifts are attempted, it’s doubtful that either will be looking to challenge the world record and will more likely be eyeing overall success through the full five events.

Novikov was third at this year’s World’s Strongest Man, whilst Singleton is Giants’ most recent winner with his Strongman Classic victory over Mitch Hooper illustrating the phenomenal shape he is in right now. Either man could end the night clutching the winner’s trophy and there is little in the events to separate them.

Rob Kearney’s 440kg deadlift best dates back from the 2019 World Championships in Wembley and ranks him above half of the field. The American self-styled world_strongest_gay is famed for his static power and will be looking to make the 1,000lb milestone. A real giant killer, Kearney has earnt a reputation for exceeding everyone’s expectations of what a man his size is capable of. He has released some impressive training footage, indicating he is in great shape. The Dumbbell Medley is an event he could well score highly in with the Wrecking Ball Hold and Stones representing disciplines in which he will need to limit the damage.

Last year the Cardiff fans nearly blew the roof off the arena as the Welsh Bull, Gavin Bilton, set a National Record of 425.5kg. Bilton is sighting a 1,000lb pull this time around and the whopping Welshman could well enjoy even greater success in the wider contest, following the runner-up finish he took at Britain’s Strongest Man this season, that has kick-started a marked improvement in his form.

Gavin Bilton Cardiff

Luke Stoltman is not well known for his deadlifting prowess but will nonetheless be looking to amend his PB numbers in the opening event. The Scot will doubtless be focusing on the full contest and is a man who is a two-time Giants Live winner having triumphed at the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man and World Tour Finals. Having qualified for his fourth World’s Strongest Man final earlier this year, he could place no higher than 13th at the Shaw Classic, though he was 6th at his most recent Giants event – the Strongman Classic.

WSM competitor, Shane Flowers, will be rounding out the British contingent. Placing 8th overall at this contest last year, Flowers pulled 400kg in the Deadlift World Championships – an impressive feat – but one that earned him few points in such exalted deadlifting company. Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer matched Flowers’ 400kg lift but was forced to withdraw from the contest after two events and will be hoping to fare better this year.

Having won the recent Official Strongman European Championships Open division, Oskar Ziólkowski has earned his invite to Cardiff and has enjoyed a tremendous 2023, winning the Arnold Amateur Strongman World Championships back in March. He has also won on the Strongman Champions League circuit and was the 2021 Poland’s Strongest Man.

Winning the Deadlift Ladder in his last contest, Oskar has proved he is a very capable puller, but has been invited to this contest off the back of his stunning win in London, and therefore will have had little time to concentrate exclusively on his deadlift. However, he is a proven winner and could well figure well up the leader board.

USA’s Austin Andrade and Evans Nana of Ghana complete the line-up and will both be making their Giants Live debuts. Andrade, from San Antonio, has also competed for Mexico, and won the Shaw Classic Open as well as the Strongman Champions League’s World’s Strongest Latino contest. He was also 5th at America’s Strongest Man this year.

Evans Nana, whose full name is Evans Nana Ekow Aryee is a 25-year-old Belgian-based Ghanian, known as the “Gladiator of Ghana” due to the fighting spirit he has shown in competition. He recently defeated Gavin Bilton and Kane Francis at the SCL Portugal competition and has recently deadlifted 401kg in training.

The Events

Event 1: BoohooMAN World Deadlift Championships   

This event’s simplicity is the key to its appeal; grip the bar and stand-up – it really isn’t any more complicated than that. Eddie Hall’s 500kg lift back in 2016 remains as one of the most captivating sporting achievements ever and anyone who can lift 505kg this evening will walk away with $55,000 in prize money!

Increments: 400kg, 430kg, 453.5kg (1,000lb), 470kg, 505kg

Event 2: SBD Dumbbell Ladder


Last contested at a Giants Live event at the 2022 Strongman Classic, the Dumbbell Ladder is a test of explosive strength and technique, and with five massive circus dumbbells of ascending weight to lift, also a measure of endurance. Oleksii Novikov won the event in a mind-blowingly rapid 38.38 seconds on that occasion, with Rob Kearney the only other man to lift all the implements. The athletes will have 75-seconds and will be racing in pairs. Fans should also watch out for Evan Singleton who tied for 1st in the Max Dumbbell event at World’s this year.

Implements: 80kg, 90kg, 100kg, 110kg, 120kg

Event 3: ClearScore Wrecking Ball Hold

This excruciating trail of grip strength is brand new to Giants Live and will see the athletes go head-to-head in pairs, with each man holding a quarter-tonne wrecking ball off the ground. Whoever can block out the pain and hold on the longest will emerge victorious.

This event was first used at the 2022 World’s Strongest Man as the penultimate event in the heats. On that occasion few were surprised to see Grip God Mark Felix take top honours after he held on for 140.49 seconds, which was 15-seconds more than the next best time. A potential banana skin for some of these athletes, Evan Singleton was the best performer of athletes competing in this show with a time of 100.34 seconds.

Event 4: Mirafit Load & Push                

Load & Push full event

This will be the second outing for this event at Giants Live, having been inaugurated at this year’s Europe’s Strongest Man. Ukraine’s Pavlo Kordiyaka came home first in 44.14 seconds with Oleksii Novikov achieving the fastest time of athletes also competing tonight. Loading race specialists will be hoping to pick-up good points here, but as ever, a misload or a mishandled implement could cost the competitors dearly. The competitors will have 75-seconds to load all three implements into the barrow and push the whole thing back down the 20m course.

Implements:     Anvil: 120kg to be carried 10m, Tyre: 100kg to be carried 15m, Sack: 130kg to be carried 20m.

Event 5: The Castle Stones

Giants Live’s “lighter” set of stones will be used, which may be welcome news to the athletes whose strength reserves might be somewhat depleted from their deadlift exertions. That means speed and an absence of mistakes will be key to success here, with most of the athletes likely to complete the five stone run. It’s the traditional end to most strongman contests and an event that can cause more than a few upsets.    

Implements: 100kg, 120kg, 140kg, 160kg, 180kg

The Strongman Open & World Deadlift Championships are available to watch on livestream at at 5pm BST, 12.00pm EST.

Frequently asked questions

How can I watch World’s Strongest Man 2023 on TV in the UK?

In the UK, you will be able to watch Giants Live and the World's Strongest Man 2023 shows on Channel 5 in December 2023. The Giants Live shows available to watch are Britain's Strongest Man, Europe's Strongest Man, The Strongman Classic, The Strongman Open featuring the World Deadlift Championships and lastly the World Tour Finals. The World's Strongest Man 2o23 contest was held at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The 2023 Channel 5 Christmas TV schedule has now been released as follows:

  • 20th December 2023 7pm: Britain's Strongest Man
  • 21st December 2023 7pm: Europe's Strongest Man
  • 22nd December 2023 7pm: The Strongman Classic
  • 23rd December 2023 7.10pm: The Strongman Open and the World Deadlift Championships
  • 26th December 2023 7pm: The World Tour Finals
  • 27th December 2023 7pm: World's Strongest Man Heat 1
  • 28th December 2023 7pm: World's Strongest Man Heat 2
  • 29th December 2023 7pm: World's Strongest Man Heat 3
  • 30th December 2023 7.25pm: World's Strongest Man Heat 4
  • 31st December 2023 7pm: World's Strongest Man Heat 5
  • 1st January 2024 7pm: World's Strongest Man Final

What is the World Deadlift Record?

The competition World Deadlift Record is 500kg or 1,102 lbs. This was pulled by Eddie 'The Beast' Hall in 2016 at Giants Live's Europe's Strongest Man in Leeds. In 2023, Graham Hicks, former Britain's Strongest Man, won the World Deadlift Championships at Giants Live, The Strongman Open in Cardiff. He pulled 470kg, narrowly missing pulling 505kg.

Who deadlifted 500kg?

Eddie 'The Beast' Hall deadlifted an incredible 500kg in 2016 at Giants Live's Europe's Strongest Man in Leeds. This is still the World Deadlift Record. In 2023, Graham Hicks, former Britain's Strongest Man, won the World Deadlift Championships at Giants Live, The Strongman Open in Cardiff. He pulled 470kg, narrowly missing pulling 505kg.