Nakonechnyy looks primed for another major victory.
On July 13, 2023, strongman Pavlo Nakonechnyy shared an Instagram video of himself completing a 200-kilogram (440.9-pound) bench press for seven reps during a training session. According to the caption of Nakonechnyy’s post, the session is part of the Ukrainian athlete’s ongoing preparation for the 2023 Shaw Classic (SC). The competition is scheduled for August 19-20, 2023, in Loveland, CO. American athlete Trey Mitchell is the two-time defending SC champion (2021-2022).
In a stacked SC field featuring Mitchell and various World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champions like Mitchell Hooper (reigning, 2023), Tom Stoltman (2021-2022), Oleksii Novikov (2020), and the contest’s eponymous competitor, Brian Shaw (2011, 2013, 2015-2016), the 26-year-old Nakonechnyy still figures to be a dark horse contender for the title. Winning an event like the Bench Press — its presence in the 2023 SC event catalog is why Nakonechnyy is polishing it up — would go a long way toward his chances.
As an athlete still relatively young in a strongman context, Nakonechnyy put himself on the map when he won the 2022 Giants Live World Open (GLWO) title. Nakonechnyy’s triumph was notable given that he beat other notable strongman superstars like Hooper, Novikov, and 2023 Giants Live Strongman Classic (GLSC) champion Evan Singleton. However, a knee injury suffered at the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) robbed Nakonechnyy of the opportunity to build on his success with two major contests from the 2023 strongman season. At the time of this writing, it is still unclear what the extent and nature of Nakonechnyy’s injury was.
Rather than make his respective debuts at the 2023 Europe’s Strongest Man (ESM) and the 2023 WSM, Nakonechnyy was forced to withdraw from both competitions and take the time to recuperate to full strength. After a recent third-place podium appearance at the 2023 Pahlavon Mahmud Strongman Grand Prix (PMSGP), it seems Nakonechnyy is prepared to raise his profile again in a contest with a bigger reputation like the 2023 SC.
Here’s an overview of the current 2023 SC roster and the complete list of competitors Nakonechnyy will have to overcome in his debut at the contest:
2023 Shaw Classic Roster
Trey Mitchell (United States) — Reigning two-time Champion
Brian Shaw (United States) — 2022 runner-up
Mitchell Hooper (Canada) — 2022 third place
Tom Stoltman (United Kingdom)
Luke Stoltman (United Kingdom)
Oleksii Novikov (Ukraine)
Bobby Thompson (United States)
Adam Bishop (United Kingdom)
Graham Hicks (United Kingdom)
Pavlo Nakonechnyy (Ukraine)
Thomas Evans (United States)
Maxime Boudreault (Canada)
Kevin Faires (United States)
Aivars Šmaukstelis (Latvia)
Evan Singleton (United States)
*Gavin Bilton (United Kingdom) | *Replaces Mateusz Kieliszkowski
According to his resume on Strongman Archives, Nakonechnyy has typically fared well in competition debuts during his young career. In seven first-time appearances at respective strongman contests, including his win at the 2022 GLWO, Nakonechnyy can boast six top-five finishes. Such a precedent could bode well for the athlete at the 2023 SC.
In a competition loaded with superstars like the 2023 SC, Nakonechnyy faces a tall order to make a mark. If he is indeed back to all cylinders firing, a Colorado success story for this youthful Ukrainian dynamo probably shouldn’t be viewed as a surprise.
Featured image: @pavlo_nakonechnyy on Instagram