On July 7, 2022, the Giants Live Organization announced that Axle Press and Log Lift World Record holder Cheick “Iron Biby” Sanou withdrew from the 2022 Giants Live Strongman Classic. Sanou withdrew after unforeseen and undisclosed issues with travel to the location of the contest.
Sanou’s withdrawal has unfortunate timing as this year’s Strongman Classic will take place just a few days after, on July 9, 2022, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Two-time Australia’s Strongest Man (ASM) Champion (2017-2018) Eddie Williams is Sanou’s official replacement. At the time of this writing, Sanou has not offered more specifics regarding his travel problems on any of his public platforms.
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Sanou’s withdrawal continues a recent string of departures from this year’s Strongman Classic. In mid-June 2022, Georgia’s Konstantine Janashia left the contest as Canada’s Maxime Boudreault filled in. Then, in early July 2022, former Britain’s Strongest Man (2020) Adam Bishop had to pull himself out of the competition after tearing his triceps. Fellow United Kingdom strongman Gavin Bilton took up that empty slot.
With the latest shuffle of athletes at the Strongman Classic now official, here is where the current roster stands:
2022 Strongman Classic Roster
Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine) — Defending Champion
Evan Singleton (United States) — 2021 second place
Eddie Williams (Australia)
Paul Smith (United Kingdom)
Ken McClelland (United States)
Maxime Boudreault (Canada)
Rob Kearney (United States)
Andy Black (United Kingdom)
Mark Felix (United Kingdom)
Spenser Remick (United States)
Gavin Bilton (United Kingdom)
Mitchell Hooper (Canada)
Here are the events for this year’s Strongman Classic:
2022 Strongman Classic Events
The Pillars of Hercules
Farmer’s Carry for Distance
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At 29-years-old, Williams might still be seeking a major international breakthrough as a strongman. While he can boast two ASM titles, the athlete would undoubtedly like to make a bigger name for himself outside of his home country. According to Strongman Archives, Williams hasn’t competed in any contest in over two years. The 2022 Strongman Classic will mark his return.
Notably, Williams has been part of a Giants Live contest before, finishing in seventh place at the 2019 Giants Live North American Open. In addition, on another international stage, during his first and only appearance at the 2019 World’s Strongest Man (WSM), Williams was unable to make it past the Qualifying Round.
To notch a great result, Williams will face tough sledding from a field that features names like defending Strongman Classic Champion Oleksii Novikov and rising stars such as Wild Card Mitchell Hooper. The strongman sphere will ultimately see how Williams manages his return to competition on July 9, 2022, in London, England.
Featured image: @giantslivestrongman on Instagram