In the weeks leading up to the 2023 Arnold Classic, most bodybuilding analysts pegged Nick Walker as the easy favorite to leave Columbus, Ohio with the victory. But the script flipped when the judges crowned Samson Dauda the winner in an upset that took many by surprise.
With the dust still settling on the competition, bodybuilders — both past and present — are chiming in with their thoughts on the results. And one of the most vocal is Samir Bannout, the 1983 Mr. Olympia winner. Hear what he had to say below:
Samir Bannout on Samson Dauda’s 2023 Arnold Classic Victory
On March 8, Bannout went on his Muscle Maturity podcast with host Nick Trigili and natural bodybuilder John Hansen to talk about Dauda’s physique at the Arnold.
“I wasn’t really impressed with Samson’s quality,” Bannout says. “I’m always impressed with his body and I think he’d probably be the man to beat at the Olympia if he adds 10 percent more quality.”
When talking about Samson’s lack of “quality,” Bannout says a lot of it had to do with a perceived lack of definition in his back.
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“I love his body, but there’s no clarity in his back,” Bannout says. “His back was still hazy, so maybe he ended up too flat.”
Trigili agreed, saying Dauda has a “great shell to work with and build on, but it’s not there yet.”
Bannout on the Rest of the Field
While Bannout brought aspects of Dauda’s physique into question, he praised the quality of muscle third-place contestant Andrew Jacked and runner-up Walker brought to the stage.
“I was impressed with Andrew,” Bannout says. “I think Andrew Jacked, in my opinion, had better quality [than Dauda] and he has a beautiful physique.”
“If it’s based on quality alone, Nick would easily win the show,” Bannout says. “But I think the judges, right now, are paying more attention to overall balance, and I think Samson had that.”
In the end, Trigili and Hansen both agreed that Walker had a convincing case for the top spot, with Hansen even calling Walker “the rightful winner.”
Walker and Jacked didn’t come away from the show completely empty-handed, though. The judges awarded Walker with the Franco Columbu Most Muscular award, while Jacked won the Ed Corney Best Poser award — both of which earned the men $10,000.
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Featured Image: Courtesy of the Arnold Sports Festival