There’s less than a week to go before Glasgow’s OVO Hydro hosts the Giants Live Arena Tour finale, and what a contest there is in store, yet again! World’s Strongest Man Mitchell Hooper, the defending champion, is set to renew his keen rivalry with the two-time WSM winner, Tom Stoltman.
Hooper dethroned the Invergordon man in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, earlier this year, and the pair clashed again at the Strongman Classic at London’s Royal Albert Hall, with Stoltman getting the better of the Canadian on that occasion. Hooper prevailed at their most recent head-to head at the Shaw Classic, so predicting the result in Glasgow will be anything but easy!
In all, thirteen men will be battling it out for the World Tour Final champion’s trophy on October 21st. Tickets are still available for what should be an electrifying event at https://giants-live.com/shows/the-world-tour-finals-2023/ and in addition, the entire contest will be live streamed from 5.00pm this Saturday and is available through www.officialstrongman.com.
World Log Lift Challenge 2023
If the Hooper vs Stoltman showdown isn’t enough to whet the appetite of strongman fans, then perhaps the prospect of Iron Biby attempting to re-write his own Log Lift world record will suffice! No other human has ever pressed more overhead than Cheick Sanou – more commonly known as Iron Biby – and on his last visit to Glasgow he eclipsed Žydrūnas Savickas’s world record with a stunning 229kg (504lb) press.
Luke Stoltman, who shared the title with Biby at last year’s World Log Lift Challenge, will be looking to push the Burkinabe all the way, as well as remain in contention for the overall World Tour Final contest. The Highland Oak made his fourth WSM final back in April and won this very title two years ago.
USA’s Tyler Cotton and Czech athlete Ondřej Fojtů are arguably the pick of the Log Lifters from the remaining line-up. Cotton has completed 200kg in competition, whilst Fojtů is the current junior World Record Holder with a massive 206.1kg to his name.
Mitchell Hooper may well be relishing the opportunity to test his max Log. The Moose completed 3 reps on the 195kg Austrian Oak at this year’s Arnold Classic, and on that form should be capable of going well past 200kg.
World Tour Finals Line-Up
This year’s competition includes some strong events for Europe’s Strongest Man, Pavlo Kordiyaka. The Ukrainian was 6th at World’s this year and comes into the contest as the reigning Europe’s Strongest Man. He holds the world record in event 4: Conan’s Wheel, with a 1,009° carry. His overhead strength and carrying speed should see him placed well up the leader board after the first two events: Log Lift and Sandbag Steeplechase.
The Welsh Bull, Gavin Bilton, has also been in fine form this season, placing 2nd at Britain’s Strongest Man back in January, and claiming the runner-up spot in front of his home crowd at last month’s Strongman Open. Bilton seems to be steadily improving and will be looking to make his sizeable presence felt in this top-tier line-up.
WSM finalist Matthew Ragg will be making his Giants Live debut and will have had the longest journey of any athlete competing. He is the current New Zealand’s Strongest Man and qualified through the Official Strongman Games, where he placed 3rd in 2022, winning two disciplines from tonight’s roster: Sandbag and Atlas Stones.
Joining Ragg from the southern hemisphere will be two-time Australia’s Strongest Man Eddie Williams – The Singing Strongman. At 6’ 4” and 190k, Eddie is one of the biggest strongmen on the circuit and he shattered the Nicol Stones world record at his last Giants outing, at the Strongman Classic.
The only man in attendance from across the pond will be Tyler Cotton, who like the Stoltmans, is one half of a pair of brothers who compete in strongman. His brother Jonathan will not be competing, but Tyler will be making his Giants Live debut having gained his selection by placing 3rd at the 2021 Official Strongman Games. If the American can match his 200kg Log personal best he should get off to a good start and although he is one of the more diminutive world class strongmen, he is extremely tough and explosive and will not give an inch once the whistle blows.
Another debutant will be Scotland’s Strongest Man, Conor Curran. The third Scot in tonight’s line-up is a lofty 6-foot, 6-inches, and will be looking to pick up some good points in the deadlift – his favourite event. He won the Scottish title last month in front of his home crowd in Glasgow, so should be counting on a big boost from them this Saturday.
Pa O’Dwyer was 8th at this contest last year and last competed at the Strongman Open back in September. He won Conan’s Wheel at the 2020 Britain’s Strongest Man contest – tonight’s penultimate event – so should pick up some good points there. The Irishman is a colourful character and likes to keep the crowd entertained.
Evans Nana, the Ghanaian Gladiator, made his Giants Live debut at the Strongman Open & World Deadlift Championships in Cardiff, placing eighth overall. Evans is Ghanaian born, but based in Belgium and will be looking to underline his fighting reputation in this stacked line-up.
Completing the line-up is Ondřej Fojtů of the Czech Republic. The 21-year-old is the 2022 Czech Strongest Man, and Junior Log Lift World Record Holder, with a huge 206.1kg lift to his credit. He placed 3rd place at OSG’s Euro Champs in London back in August and could well add to his junior Log World Record in event 1.
Giants Live competitions have become renowned for their fast-paced format. Attracting large crowds and filmed for television, they are tightly packed into a 3.5-hour, evening contest. The events need to match the demands on the athletes, with rest and warm-up times limited. Darren Sadler and his team have selected events that test not only max strength, but also speed, skill, endurance, and durability. With just five events, there’s no time to catch up lost points, so consistency is also crucial.
Event 1: SBD World Log Lift Challenge
The log lift is one of strongman’s most quintessential disciplines and there is perhaps no greater test of raw upper body power, nor an event that better symbolises what strongman is all about. Why lift a steel bar when you can press a massive wooden log? The World Log Lift Challenge has established itself as the world’s premier log lifting championship.
Past winners of this flagship Giants Live event include strongman greats Žydrūnas Savickas and Eddie “The Beast” Hall, who shared the title in 2018 with Iron Biby and Hafthór Július Björnsson. Biby and Luke Stoltman are the defending champions, but it is Biby who holds the world record at 229kg.
The rounds of this rising-bar contest are set to be as follows:
Round 1: 170kg
Round 2: 185kg
Round 3: 200kg
Round 4: 210kg
Round 5: 220kg
Round 6: 230kg (World Record)
Event 2: Mirafit Sandbag Steeplechase
New to Giants Live, this event was inaugurated at the Official Strongman Games European Championships and will be a particularly gruelling discipline. Fatigue will be acute for the athletes who must load two massive 150kg sacks onto a table with a 1.2m wooden hurdle blocking their path!
Each sack must be deposited over the hurdle and then retrieved from the other side before being carried to the tables. Pace on the returns is crucial, but so too is the speed at which the strongmen manhandle these awkward bags from the floor. The likes of Tom Stoltman, with his huge hands and arm span, will waste no time in scooping them up, whilst others will need to be more measured in their approach.
Event 3: ClearScore Axle Deadlift
These 350kg axles will be lifted from slightly lower than a conventional 9-inch bar height, due to their huge thickness. Added to that is their lack of flex, making the task of lifting them for repetitions even tougher. Ukraine’s Pavlo Nakonechnyy holds the record with an astonishing 11-reps – a feat that saw him flat on his back soon afterwards, gasping for breath. This is an event that can severely deplete the athletes’ energy levels and leave them well below-par in the final two events.
In what is a seemingly simple event, mistakes are still common. Reps can be disallowed for not waiting for a down-signal and quite often the final energy-sapping lock-out can come just after the whistle that ends the 60-second time allocation.
Event 4: BoohooMAN Conan’s Wheel
This punishing event is as much about endurance as it is about strength and it will certainly tax the staying power of these huge men, who are not always built for stamina. Success in this discipline can hinge on the speed at which the athletes move around the circle before their arm and shoulders fatigue, and the bar begins to slip from their grasp. Anything more than two full revolutions is a brilliant performance and Ukraine’s Pavlo Kordiyaka holds the current record with an unbelievable 1009°, set at the 2022 Europe’s Strongest Man contest.
Event 5: The Castle Water Stones
Giants Live operates two sets of stones: a “light” and “heavy” set. The 120kg – 200kg heavy set is what will be facing this Saturday’s competitors, the record for which was established at the 2017 Europe’s Strongest Man contest in Leeds. In a memorable showdown with Eddie Hall, Iceland’s Hafthór Július Björnsson completed all five stones in a scarcely credible 17.54 seconds. It’s the classic end to any strongman show and one that can create no shortage of drama!
The Stones are a banker for Tom Stoltman and if he can make it this far in the contest still in touch with, or leading Hooper, the Scot can be as near as certain of a points gain in this discipline. However, strange things can sometimes happen. In 2021, Luke Stoltman profited by a rare slip-up from both Tom and Evan Singleton. Both men misloaded their penultimate stone and saw it drop onto the final one, sending it rolling across the arena floor! By the time they had retrieved and loaded their implements, Luke had run away with the title.
Where is Tom Stoltman from?
Tom was born and lives in Invergordon in the eastern Highlands of Scotland, just outside Inverness. Tom Stoltman is the two-times World's Strongest Man and his brother Luke Stoltman is Europe's Strongest Man. Invergordon is officially home to the World's Strongest Brothers.
Who is a strongman?
A strongman performs unbelievable and unimaginable acts of strength. The world deadlift competition record is held by Eddie Hall at 500kg, a half tonne!! The current World's Strongest Man is Mitchell Hooper.
Who is the World’s Strongest Man currently?
The 2023 World's Strongest Man is Canadian, Mitchell Hooper. He won the title in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The World's Strongest Man 2023 contest took place between the 19th and 23rd April.
Who is the number 1 strongest man in the world?
Mitchell Hooper is the strongest man in the world. One of Hooper's strongest events is the yoke. He won World's Strongest Man at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in April 2023.