The Glasgow crowds were treated to an unforgettable night of action as Tom Stoltman swooped to a stunning World Tour Final win at the OVO Hydro. Defeating World’s Strongest Man, Mitchell Hooper, Tom completed a 3-point win over New Zealand’s Mathew Ragg to claim the title that eluded him back in 2021.
On that occasion Stoltman’s final stone fell from its plinth and scuppered what looked a certain victory. This time the Invergordon Goliath made no mistakes as he one-motioned all five of Giants’ brand-new set of stones, obliterating the field.
It was an evening full of moments of high sporting drama that provoked deafening roars from the 8,000-strong audience. None received a bigger cheer than in the night’s opening event, the SBD World Log Lift Challenge, in which Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou eclipsed his own world record with a phenomenal 230kg (507lb) press.
In the press conference preceding Saturday night’s contest, Biby was asked about comments he’d received questioning the validity of his 229kg record. He assured his critics he would give them both a new world record and an unequivocal lock-out. The Burkinabe delivered on both scores, cleaning the massive wooden log with ease, and then pressing out with extraordinary control. Holding the log aloft for several seconds, the arena erupted as Biby leapt from the stage to celebrate his third overhead world record at a Giants Live show.
It was the perfect start to the night, and if there were any doubts that the rest of the contest might struggle to live up to Biby’s astonishing feat, they were quickly dispelled. The mostly Scottish crowd had come to see Tom Stoltman reign supreme, and they had plenty to cheer after he backed-up his 210kg Log Lift with a thrilling head-to-head victory over Hooper in the Sandbag Steeplechase. Hooper had led in the early stages, but the Scot closed the gap with his speed in the pick-ups and as they loaded the final bag, Hooper lost his balance, dropped his sack, and slipped to 6th place.
Stoltman’s 7 reps with the 350kg Axle Deadlift left him on equal terms with Hooper, whilst Matthew Ragg’s eight took the win. The six-time New Zealand’s Strongest Man then made it back-to-back wins after besting the field in Conan’s Wheel. Tom was down in 5th, but with only the Stones remaining his 2-point advantage looked as safe as the bank, barring any mishaps.
Proving yet again why he is known as the King of the Stones, Stoltman’s peerless 19.23 second run was nearly 10-seconds quicker than his nearest competitor, Ragg. The New Zealander’s stone run was good enough to keep him 5.5-points ahead of Hooper and consolidate him in 2nd place on his Giants Live debut. After qualifying for the World’s Strongest Man final back in April, Ragg has well and truly underlined his class with his superb showing in this contest.
Hooper battled on like a true champion, fully aware that his slip-up in the Sandbag Steeplechase would be costly. He managed to keep ahead of Europe’s Strongest Man, Pavlo Kordiyaka, who had picked up top-three finishes in the Log, Sandbag and Conan’s Wheel. The Stones and Deadlift had seen the Ukrainian leak too many points to challenge for the podium, but he remained in 4th, 2-points ahead of Luke Stoltman.
Luke had battled through the Log Lift needing three attempts to get past 186kg, eventually topping out at 200kg, ceding his usual dominance in this event to his younger brother. Strong performances in the Sandbag and Castle Stones boosted the older Stoltman’s points total and saw him close out his evening’s work on a high.
The Welsh Bull, Gavin Bilton, missed out on what would have been a new Welsh Record of 186kg in the Log Lift by the closest of refereeing calls. His best performances came in the Deadlift and Stones, placing 4th in both and being one of just four men to lift all five of the shiny new stones that were proving extremely difficult for the very tired athletes.
Debutants, Ondřej Fojtů of the Czech Republic, and Tyler Cotton of the United States, both performed solidly, placing 7th and 9th respectively. Fojtů put together a consistent showing, with the Castle Stones being the only real blemish on his scorecard, whilst the highlight of Cotton’s night was his 200kg Log Lift.
Local man, Conor Curran, the taxi driver from Lenzie, placed 11th on his Giants Debut. The current Scotland’s Strongest Man’s best result was his 7th place in the Sandbag Steeplechase. Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer recovered well from a bad start in the Log Lift in which he failed to lift the opening weight of 170kg. His 4th place in Conan’s Wheel helped him to 8th overall.
He and Eddie Williams entertained the crowd with a musical duet that saw Williams accompany the Irishman’s singing on the ukulele. Williams finished 10th overall, with Evans Nana 12th after being forced to withdraw following a biceps injury in the Sandbag Steeplechase.
Event 1: SBD World Log Lift Challenge
|Event 1: Log Lift|
|1||Iron Biby (BUR)||230kg||Guest|
|2||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||210kg||12|
|=3||Tyler Cotton (USA)||200kg||9.5|
|=3||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||200kg||9.5|
|=3||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||200kg||9.5|
|=3||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||200kg||9.5|
|=7||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||186kg||6.5|
|=7||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||186kg||6.5|
|=9||Evans Nana GHA)||170kg||4|
|=9||Eddie Williams (AUS)||170kg||4|
|=9||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||170kg||4|
|=12||Conor Curran (GBR)||No Lift||0|
|=12||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||No Lift||0|
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 were the defending champions, with Biby holding the world record at 229kg.
It was Tom Stoltman who took away maximum points with his 210kg personal best. Iron Biby’s spectacular world record was outside the main competition, with Biby contesting solely the World Log Lift Challenge. Pavlo Kordiaya deployed a rarely seen power jerk technique which saw him nearly complete a 210kg lift. Locking out his arms he lost the log out in front of him and was unable to stand still, settling for =3rd with Tyler Cotton and Luke Stoltman on 200kg
Event 2: Mirafit Sandbag Steeplechase
|Event 2: Sandbag Steeplechase|
|1||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||29.92 sec||12||24|
|2||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||30.48 sec||11||20.5|
|3||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||31.41 sec||10||16.5|
|4||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||33.62 sec||9||18.5|
|5||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||34.44 sec||8||14.5|
|6||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||34.63 sec||7||16.5|
|7||Conor Curran (GBR)||35.30 sec||6||6|
|8||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||36.81 sec||5||9|
|9||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||36.83 sec||4||4|
|10||Tyler Cotton (USA)||37.76 sec||3||12.5|
|11||Evans Nana (GHA)||38.22 sec||2||6|
|12||Eddie Williams (AUS)||42.16 sec||1||5|
New to Giants Live, this event was inaugurated at the Official Strongman European Championships and is one of the most gruelling events ever concocted by Darren Sadler and his events crew. The athletes had to load massive 150kg sacks onto a table with a 1.2m wooden hurdle blocking their path! Dropping them over the hurdle they then retrieved them on the other side to finish the 20m course.
The Albatross tore through the course in a thrilling neck-and-neck duel with Hooper. Both men, in their desperation to load the final sack first, lost control. with Hooper dropping his, whilst Stoltman lurched to the table leaving the sandbag hanging precariously on the corner of the table. He was the only man to break the 30-second barrier and he would take a maximum 24-points into event 3.
Event 3: ClearScore Axle Deadlift
|Event 3: Axle Deadlift|
|1||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||8 reps||12||28.5|
|=2||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||7 reps||10.5||34.5|
|=2||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||7 reps||10.5||27|
|4||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||5 reps||9||18|
|=5||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||4 reps||6||20.5|
|=5||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||4 reps||6||10|
|=5||Eddie Williams (AUS)||4 reps||6||11|
|=5||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||4 reps||6||26.5|
|=5||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||4 reps||6||24.5|
|=10||Conor Curran (GBR)||3 reps||2.5||8.5|
|=10||Tyler Cotton (USA)||3 reps||2.5||15|
|12||Evans Nana (GHA)||Withdrew||0||6|
Ukraine’s Pavlo Nakonechnyy held the record with 11-reps on this 350kg axle – a truly incredible accomplishment in just 60-seconds. Eddie Williams set the early pace with 4-reps, lifting solo in the first heat. In the third pairing Gavin Bilton went one better, but it was Mitchell Hooper that made himself the man to beat with 7-repetitions in heat 4. In the 5th pairing Matthew Ragg ground out 8 reps to take the outright lead, with Tom Stoltman still to lift. The Scot looked smooth and well within himself for the first 6-reps, but in the end settled for 7-reps to stay on par with Hooper and save energy for the final two disciplines.
Event 4: BoohooMAN Conan’s Wheel
|Event 4: Conan’s Wheel|
|1||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||845°||12||40.5|
|2||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||841°||11||38|
|3||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||820°||10||36.5|
|4||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||756°||9||19|
|5||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||618°||8||42.5|
|6||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||608°||7||25|
|7||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||562°||6||30.5|
|8||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||553°||5||25.5|
|9||Conor Curran (GBR)||506°||4||12.5|
|10||Eddie Williams (AUS)||471°||3||14|
|11||Tyler Cotton (USA)||425°||2||17|
|12||Evans Nana (GHA)||Withdrew||0||6|
This punishing event is as much about endurance as it is about strength, and it certainly taxed the staying power of these huge men. Pavlo Kordiyaka held the current record with an unbelievable 1009° set at the 2022 Europe’s Strongest Man contest. On this occasion he achieved 820 degrees with the 200kg load to take the lead from Pa O’Dwyer who had managed 756° as the 5th man out.
Mitchell Hooper was confident his 841° effort would stand-up, with Stoltman and Ragg still to go. Tom looked very steady in his approach, moving slower than some of the other athletes, and eventually set the implement down having reached 618°, enough for 5th.
Enjoying the luxury of going last and knowing exactly what he had to beat, Ragg produced a monumental effort to eclipse Hooper’s distance by just 4°. This saw him move to within just 2-points of Tom Stoltman – a position that many in the audience might not have predicted.
Event 5: The Castle Water Stones
|Event 5: Castle Stones|
|1||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||5 in 19.23 sec||12||54.5|
|2||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||5 in 28.81 sec||11||51.5|
|3||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||5 in 37.56 sec||10||40.5|
|4||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||5 in 41.64 sec||9||34|
|5||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||4 in 19.32 sec||8||46|
|6||Eddie Williams (AUS)||4 in 23.71 sec||7||21|
|7||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||4 in 25.94 sec||6||42.5|
|8||Tyler Cotton (USA)||4 in 29.13 sec||5||22|
|9||Conor Curran (GBR)||4 in 33.20 sec||4||16.5|
|10||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||4 in 50.11 sec||3||22|
|11||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||3 in 42.16 sec||2||27.5|
|12||Evans Nana (GHA)||Withdrew||0||6|
This was the first use of Giants Live’s brand-new “heavy” set and these shiny new orbs had no tacky on them, making them considerably harder than the old set. Gavin Bilton was the first man to lift all five, bare chested in his customary fashion and treating the crowd to a big finish to his night’s work.
Hooper, in the penultimate pairing, was 2.5-points adrift of Ragg and needed a flawless run if he was to close the gap. Both he and Pavlo Kordiyaka moved through the first four at speed but narrowly failed in loading the final stone. Their frustration was palpable as their stones rested on the lip of the final plinth, but neither man could quite summon the energy to complete the final 200kg globe.
In the final heat, Ragg and Stoltman faced off, with Ragg needing to beat Stoltman and for the Scot to go slower than his brother Luke’s leading time of 37.56 seconds. Tom’s run was virtually perfect, and any hopes Ragg may have had for a slip-up were fruitless as The Albatross ripped through all five in under 20-seconds. Ragg’s 28.81 was good enough to beat everyone else and his fine run capped off a brilliant performance.
|1||Tom Stoltman (GBR)||54.5|
|2||Mathew Ragg (NZL)||51.5|
|3||Mitchell Hooper (CAN)||46|
|4||Pavlo Kordiyaka (UKR)||42.5|
|5||Luke Stoltman (GBR)||40.5|
|6||Gavin Bilton (GBR)||34|
|7||Ondřej Fojtů (CZE)||27.5|
|8||Pa O’Dwyer (IRE)||22|
|9||Tyler Cotton (USA)||22|
|10||Eddie Williams (AUS)||21|
|11||Conor Curran (GBR)||16.5|
|12||Evans Nana (GHA)||6|
Tom Stoltman’s winning margin of 3-points gave him his third Giants Live title of his career. In this form he looks certain to win many more and his battle with Hooper was another gripping chapter in what is becoming a captivating rivalry between two great champions of the sport.
In Mathew Ragg, strongman has uncovered an athlete of great talent, and it looks certain that this is a strongman who we will be seeing a great deal of in the future.
For anyone who missed the show, the contest will still be available to stream through www.officialstrongman.com
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.
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 the current World’s Strongest Man?
The current World's Strongest Man is Mitchell Hooper. The Canadian-born was crowned World's Strongest Man in 2023 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Who won the 2023 World’s Strongest Man?
Mitchell Hooper was crowned the 2023 World's Strongest Man in Myrtle Beach, California on 23rd April.