Barely has the festive season drawn to a close, and Britain’s Strongest Man – the first of six Giants Live contests scheduled for 2023 – is just three weeks away!
With Tom Stoltman’s incredible triumph at World’s Strongest Man still fresh in the mind, having been aired on Channel 5 on New Year’s Day, strongman fans need not wait long for their next dose of strength action.
In truth, World’s Strongest Man was held back in May, and the British strongmen who will be vying for victory in Sheffield’s Utilta Arena on January 28th have been preparing for many weeks now, fine-tuning their preparations in readiness for their bid to capture the UK’s premier domestic title.
With Britain’s just round the corner, Giants Live have announced all six of their show dates. Tickets are now on sale for what promises to be another phenomenal year for the World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour.
As well as shattering a plethora of world records, the 2022 contests witnessed some exhilarating competition, including the emergence of some exciting new talent, as athletes such as Mitchell Hooper and Pavlo Nakonechnyy heralded the arrival of the next generation of strength superstars.
2023 promises to be no less entertaining and it will be fascinating to see how the more established athletes respond to the challenges laid down by the younger show winners of 2022.
World records will once again be under threat with both the Deadlift World Championships and the World Log lift Challenge being contested. In addition, it’s highly likely that revisions to the records in events such as the Nicol Stones, Axle Deadlift and Power Stairs will be made, amongst others!
And to finish off the 2023 season in style, The World’s Strongest Nation team showdown will return to Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, following the enormous success of the last year’s inaugural UK and USA head-to-head, which saw the Brits emerge victorious.
The full itinerary of Giants Live 2023 contests is as follows:
Tickets are available now and can be purchased via the Giants Live website at: https://giants-live.com/shows/
If any further whetting of the appetite for strongman is needed, here is a short preview of what Giants Live have in store for each of 2023’s upcoming shows:
The British Championships will be returning to the Steel City where it has resided since 2018 and three former champions will be hoping to claim their second title. 2020 victor, Adam Bishop, will be hoping to illustrate his full return to fitness following his triceps rupture, whilst 2019 winner, Graham Hicks will be many peoples favourite for the title following his 1,000lb deadlift in Cardiff last year.
Coming out of retirement at the ripe age of 42 will be Terry Hollands – the 2007 champion. Big Tel has been competing in bodybuilding over the last couple of years so has not strayed far from the weight room and feels he still has plenty to offer.
Also making his long-anticipated return to competition is Luke Richardson, the 2020 Europe’s Strongest Man winner. Luke ruptured his biceps tendon at the 2021 World’s Strongest Man finals and then re-tore the same tendon during his rehabilitation. Luke has experienced a great deal of frustration on his road to recovery and everyone in the sport will be wishing him well in his return to full competitive action.
Other competitors include UK’s Strongest Man, the pocket Hercules, Paul Smith, as well as Scotland’s Strongest Man, Louis Jack, Wales’s Strongest Man, Gavin “The Welsh Bull” Bilton and making his Giants Live debut, England’s Strongest Man, Ryan Bennett. Also making his debut will be Zale Muluzi, the “Malawian Monster” who will be representing Scotland and who finished runner-up in last year’s Scotland’s Strongest Man contest.
In recent days Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer, last year’s runner-up, has been forced to withdraw due to injury, whilst Scotland’s Andy “The Bulldozer” Black has been confirmed to attend.
In what will be the 44th edition of Europe’s Strongest Man, defending champion Oleksii Novikov will be returning to Leeds to attempt to retain his title. Hoping to upstage his fellow-countryman will be the 2022 Strongman Open champion, Pavlo Nakonechnyy of the Ukraine. The pair claimed three Giants Live titles between them last year and will take some beating at the First Direct Arena in April.
Former champion Luke Richardson will be leading the British charge and his chances of claiming a second title will hinge on his performance at Britain’s Strongest Man in late January.
Other notable confirmed attendees include Latvia’s Aivars Šmaukstelis who took his first Giants Live podium place at the 2022 World Tour Finals, finishing second behind winner Mitchell Hooper of Canada. Aivars is the current Strongman Champions League title holder and was also a 2020 World’s Strongest Man finalist, placing 8th in Bradenton, Florida.
Seen as the jewel in the Giants Live crown, The Strongman Classic will be returning to its most iconic of venues – The Royal Albert Hall – for the third time in 2023. For sheer atmosphere and crowd proximity, this show cannot be topped!
Having twice podiumed in London, placing second in 2021 and third Last year, Evan Singleton will be hoping to complete his set of trophies with a win this year. The T-Rex suffered a few ups and downs in 2022, with injuries and health issues plaguing him in multiple contests and putting the breaks on what has otherwise been a tremendous upward trajectory in his progression in strongman since switching over from professional wrestling.
Fellow countryman Kevin Faires will also be flying the Stars and Stripes and will hope to record a third successive world record in an event that should perhaps be re-named the Faires Stones, rather than the Nicol Stones.
Standing in both their paths, from just across the US border will be “The Moose” Mitchell Hooper – arguably the most exciting new face in strongman, having exploded onto the scene in 2022, making the World’s Strongest Man final on his debut and winning the World Tour Finals, as well as taking second places at the World Open and Strongman Classic.
From much farther afield will be New Zealand’s Maori Warrior, Rongo Keene, who will be making his Giants Live debut. Rongo was the 2021 Magnús Ver Magnússon Strongman Classic winner and is a former Australia’s Strongest Man.
Returning to Cardiff for only the second time, the Giants Live Strongman Open will once again play host to one of strongman’s most compelling events – the World Deadlift Championships!
Georgia’s Ivan Makarov, the man who has now twice pulled 505kg/1,113lb to his knees, will be hoping to make it third time lucky when he yet again attempts to break the deadlift world record. The 2021 Deadlift World Champion was forced to relinquish his title last year after being bested by Rauno Heinla who will also be in attendance in Cardiff. The Estonian triumphed last year with his astonishingly smooth master’s world record of 476kg/1,049lb pull.
The hometown hero, Gavin Bilton will be hoping to harness the huge support he receives to add kilos to his Welsh record. Last year, the “Welsh Bull” came agonisingly close to joining the 1,000lb (453.6kg) club after setting a new Welsh record of 425.5kg/938lb, with some ease.
A man whose invite will be much-anticipated by anyone who stays abreast of powerlifting and deadlifting in general, will be American Jamal Browner who at under 110kg (about 17-stone) has deadlifted 500kg/1,102lb in training. Jamal will be deadlifting using the conventional style, although his best lifts have been performed using the “sumo” stance, which unfortunately for him, is not allowed in strongman. Nevertheless, Browner has lifted a 432.5kg/953.5lb conventional deadlift, which was performed raw – without lifting straps!
For the very for first time, the World Log Lift Challenge will be incorporated into the World Tour Finals and will be held north of the border, in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2021 Iron Biby established the current world record of 229kg/505lb in the OVO Hydro, but only did so due to the fact he was unable to attend the actual contest, which was held in Leeds. He will return in 2023 to take another shot at the 230kg/507lb lift that narrowly eluded him in last year’s contest.
With Scotland’s Luke Stoltman – a man looked upon as one of the world’s best-ever log pressers – confirmed to attend, its perhaps not before time that the world’s best log lift contest was held in Scotland. Luke shared the title with Iron Biby last year but will be working hard to emerge victorious in front of his home crowd.
Returning to the Giants Live stage will be two-time World’s Strongest Man, Tom “The Albatross” Stoltman. Having last appeared at the 2022 Britain’s Strongest Man contest, which he won handsomely, the world’s best strongman’s appearance has been long awaited and he will be the hot favourite to take the title that was snatched from his grasp in 2021 by none other than his big brother Luke, after he uncharacteristically slipped-up in the Castle Stones.
Making the long trip from Australia will be Eddie Williams – the singing strongman who wowed audiences in Australia and America’s Got Talent. More that just a pretty voice, Williams will be looking to build on his 2022 successes and continue to establish himself as one of the world’s top strongmen.
The season’s finale will see the second running of the World’s Strongest Nation at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. This team contest is a big departure from the normal Giants Live contest format, in which male and female athletes representing the UK and USA will battle it out in eight events to decide which of the two nations is the world’s best.
Last year, Britain emerged victorious, but it was arguably the female athletes who stole the show with America’s Gaby Dixson grabbing the headlines after she achieved a truly astonishing 1:08.61 in the Hercules Hold – a time that bettered all the male competitor’s results, except the world record holder himself, Mark Felix.
Due to return as captains and lead their respective teams, will be “The Beast” and “The Dragon” – Britain’s Eddie Hall and America’s Martins Licis. Both men are former World’s Strongest Man winners, but it will be Licis and his All-American Heroes who will be smarting from their loss last year and desperate to turn the tables on the British Bulldogs this time around.