With two weeks to go before the 2022 Arnold Classic, the competition has lost its fourth competitor. 2021 Puerto Rico Pro Champion Men’s Open entrant Akim Williams will not be in Columbus, OH to compete in the Arnold Classic, scheduled to take place March 4-5, 2022 at the Battelle Grand ballroom at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Now 10 of the 14 original competitors remain.
Williams has not yet made a public statement as to why he is out, but the Arnold Sports Festival has confirmed to BarBend that he is no longer participating. Ron Harris of Muscular Development was the first to report the news.
Williams is the fourth contestant to step out of bodybuilding’s second-largest competition. 2021 Romania Muscle Fest Pro winner Rafael Brandao withdrew in January 2022 for unknown reasons. On February 7, 2022, Arnold Classic UK winner Nathan De Asha and IFBB Pro Mohamed Shaaban both withdrew from the show due to injuries. De Asha sustained a partially torn biceps as Shaaban announced he was dealing with neck and spinal cord injuries.
2022 is William’s ninth season as a professional bodybuilder. He has won three competitions: the 2021 Puerto Rico Pro, the 2020 Chicago Pro and the 2016 Tampa Pro. Had he competed, this would have been his fourth Arnold Classic. William’s fifth-place finish in 2021 is his highest AC placing.
In addition to his prestige, the Grenada native is a four-time competitor to Mr. Olympia. In 2020 he finished sixth ahead of champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. He has also recently started podcasting as a co-host of the Legends of Iron show with strongman and powerlifter Nick Best and fellow bodybuilder Jon Andersen.
To qualify for the Mr. Olympia in 2022, Williams must win a show to earn enough OQS (Olympia Qualification System) points. The Olympia will take place the weekend of December 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV.
With the “BK Beast” out of the lineup, there are only 10 men left to compete in the Arnold Classic in 2022. Those athletes are listed below in alphabetical order.
William Bonac (Netherlands)Maxx Charles (USA)Brandon Curry (USA)Samson Dauda (UK)Regan Grimes (Canada)Steve Kuclo (USA)Cedric McMillan (USA)Fabio Giga Rezende (Brazil)Justin Rodriguez (USA)Brett Wilkin ( UNITED STATES)
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