The two strongest bench pressers in the world will battle head-to-head. Current bench press world record holder Julius Maddox and the only person who has bench pressed within range of matching him, Danial Zamani of Iran, will face off in a bench press contest at Iron Wars V on Jan. 24, 2022, at the Iron Addicts Gym in Signal Hill, CA.
According to the event’s coordinator and owner of Iron Addicts Gym, C.T. Fletcher, both Maddox and Zamani have verbally agreed to the competition. The event will be live-streamed and taped. Details for the live stream, such as what platform it will be on and the cost, if any, have not been released yet. At the time of this article’s publication, presale tickets to view the event live are out of stock. Tickets will still be available for purchase at the door on the day of the competition for $40.
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There is little doubt that Julius Maddox is currently the best bench presser on the planet. He set the current world record bench press of 355 kilograms (782.6 pounds) at the Hybrid Showdown on Feb. 21, 2021. He has incrementally increased the world record ever since first claiming it from Kirill Sarychev — Maddox lifted 335.5 kilograms (739.7 pounds) in August 2019, beating out Sarychev’s record of 335 kilograms (738.5 pounds). He is the first person to attempt a raw 362.9-kilogram (800-pound) bench press but missed it due to an unfortunate misload.
Maddox is still in pursuit of that milestone 362.9-kilogram (800-pound) bench press, and recently hit a 340-kilogram (749.6-pound) raw double in training. Prior to his most recent world record, he pressed 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds) in the gym, as well as a 322-kilogram (710-pound) triple.
Danial Zamani has shown his prowess in the bench press over the past year with some staggeringly heavy raw lifts in training. In April 2021, he locked out 330 kilograms (727.5 pounds) and the strength world took notice. He upped the ante two months later when he added another 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds) to the barbell. A month after that, he tacked on yet another 10 kilograms (22.1 pounds).
On the same day that Fletcher posted the announcement for the bench press battle at Iron Wars V, Zamani took to his Instagram to share his heaviest bench press to date — 352.5 kilograms (777.1 pounds), which is just 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) shy of matching Maddox’s world record:
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Despite being the only apparent contender able to race Maddox to the 800-pound bench press, the 29-year-old Zamani appears humble. In the caption of the video featuring his latest PR, he wrote:
I don’t claim that I am the best because…new athletes break old records and being the best is temporary BUT I try to be the best in my era.
The caption confirmed that Zamani is training to score a 365-kilogram (804.7-pound) bench press. Given that the two strongest bench pressers in the world will be in the same place shooting for the same weight on Jan. 24, 2022, the world record will likely fall. If Maddox and/or Zamani can pass the 800-pound threshold, the question becomes: how heavy can they go?
Featured image: @c.t.ali.fletcher on Instagram