By James Nethercoat
That’s right, the worst kept secret in Strongman is out- the World Log Lift Challenge will be returning in 2020 as Event 1 of Europe’s Strongest Man at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on April 4th!
It was back in 2015 when Žydrūnas ‘Big Z’ Savickas beat his own Log Lift Record to set a new benchmark of 227kg. Big Z has been the holder of the Log Lift record since way back in 2005 with 202.5kg, a weight that no fewer than 7 men matched at the 2019 World Log Lift Challenge, a stark reminder of the rate the sport has progressed in the last 14 years.
At the Log Press Challenge in 2019, Graham Hicks, Rob Kearney and Mateusz Kieliszkowski all managed to lift a staggering 214kg Log, with the former 2 men taking their national records in the process. That night though, belonged to Iron Biby - the man from West Africa securing the trophy with a clean 220kg lift.
Although he’s the reigning World Log Lift Champion and one of the best pressers in the world, there’s still unfinished business for Biby in Leeds. In 2020 he will be once again attempting to take the World Record away from Žydrūnas after failing to do so for the last two years. He came close in 2019; if grit and bloody determination were enough to take the record, he would surely have done it but as a visibly drained and in pain Biby returned to the stage to attempt the record, he knew it wasn’t going to be the night.
Biby still has his sights firmly set on the record and few in the Strongman community doubt that the man from Burkina Faso has the power to do so, but in recent months a new challenger has come to the fore from the world of power lifting. Could he take the record that Biby so desperately wants from under his nose?
Last weekend Julius Maddox broke his own bench press World Record with an unbelievable 337.5kg/744lbs press. There is no doubt that this man is strong with a capital S.
Julius may well be the strongest bench presser in the world right now, but the Log Press is somewhat of a trickier beast than the bench press. Few would bet against the American if he was able to get the record weight to his shoulders, but doing so takes a whole different kind of strength and a whole lot of skill. One man who can attest to that is Larry Wheels, he put in a solid 202.5kg lift last year despite being new to the strongman game. He suffered a torn bicep last year training Atlas Stones at Giants Live HQ and is still on the road to full recovery, but we’re excited to see what Larry can do in Leeds.
Perhaps Maddox and Wheels could learn a thing or two from fellow American, Rob Kearney? The pint-sized strongman is currently America’s top log presser and despite not being the out and out strongest, he is an absolute master of technique and makes sure not one joule of energy is wasted when he steps on to that stage.
We’re excited to confirm that reigning Britain’s Strongest Man and British Log Press record holder, Graham Hicks, will be returning to the Giants Live stage in Leeds. In 2019, Hixxy not only stole the British log press record from a certain Eddie Hall, he also managed to take his Britain’s Strongest Man title too!
In what could turn out to be a master-stroke the man from Morcombe has decided not to defend his Britain’s Strongest Man title, allowing him plenty of time to train for the Log Lift Challenge in April. He was unlucky to not get the 220kg in 2019 and has hit higher numbers in training, could Hixxy be the dark horse?
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