Elite powerlifter Russel Orhii has been competing with the USA Powerlifting Federation (USAPL) for the past several years following USAPL’s split with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). At the 2022 USAPL raw nationals, Orhii achieved the highest drug-tested total ever recorded in the 82.5-kilogram class and is widely considered to be one of the best powerlifters of his generation.
Orhii was originally on the roster for the 2023 USAPL Raw Nationals, but the rumor mill ran wild when his name disappeared from that list. That speculation ended on July 29, 2023, when he published a video on his YouTube channel wherein he explained that he was leaving the USAPL because he wanted to be a world-champion powerlifter again. Check out what he had to say below:
The first half of the video was focused on Orhii’s bench press training. He took 150 kilograms (330 pounds) for four reps on his first set and went up to 160 kilograms (352 pounds) for his next set of four.
Orhii interrupted his session to say that he would not compete at the 2023 USAPL Raw Nationals. He returned to the bench for his final set of four, this time at 170 kilograms (374 pounds).
Two-time IPF world champion Orhii still holds the squat and total IPF world records in the 83-kilogram class at 320.5 kilograms (707 pounds) and 843 kilograms (1,859 pounds), respectively. Delaney Wallace came close to breaking the total world record at the 2023 Sheffield Powerlifting Championships, narrowly missing the final deadlift attempt that would have given him the record.
Jurins Kengamu has been creeping closer to the squat world record, locking out 310.5 kilograms (685 pounds) at British nationals. This looks like a reasonable time for Orhii to return and defend those records before they are eclipsed.
Orhii initially thought staying with USAPL was a good business decision. He made the choice to stay to grow his brand and not be limited by some of the restrictions from competing in the IPF. However, recent developments in the new IPF affiliate, Powerlifting America (PA), and in the IPF itself have encouraged Orhii to make the move.
There have been two classic world championships that Orhii did not compete in. He admitted to suffering from “FOMO” (fear of missing out) when watching those events. He is also tempted by the IPF’s new big-money meet, the Sheffield Powerlifting Championships, with its phenomenal production values. He professed excitement at this new level of competition and said he wanted to be a part of it.
I miss being able to call myself a world champion
Originally, Orhii intended to compete at USAPL Raw Nationals and then make the switch. However, the scheduling of the meets meant he wouldn’t be eligible for the PA Nationals in time. So he decided to take his name off the roster and move to PA early.
Orhii is interested in competing at the 2025 World Games in China, which will feature raw powerlifting for the first time. To qualify for the World Games and for Sheffield 2025, Orhii must compete at the 2024 IPF Classic Powerlifting Championships in Lithuania.
It’s a lengthy process to fulfill such lofty ambitions, and the decisions he’s made are setting in motion a two-year sequence of events that he hopes will culminate in competing in Chengdu in July 2025.
Orhii intends to stay in the 83-kilogram class for the foreseeable future. His next sanctioned meet is the 2024 PA Nationals. This event does not yet have a confirmed date but is expected to be in the first quarter of 2024.
Featured image: @russwole on Instagram