Lewis thinks Lunsford is on observe towards historical past.
Derek Lunsford may very well be the following inheritor obvious to true bodybuilding greatness. Already a former 212 Olympia champion (2021), Lunsford shined in his Males’s Open debut on the 2022 Olympia, ending because the runner-up to the titanic Hadi Choopan. With extra seasoning underneath his belt, some members of the bodybuilding neighborhood suppose he’s on the precipice of a genuinely distinctive achievement.
On July 17, 2023, James “Flex” Lewis posted a video to his YouTube channel the place he had a dialog with Lunsford about his present place in bodybuilding. With Lunsford now a full-time Males’s Open class member, Lewis endorsed his peer’s possibilities at turning into the primary bodybuilder ever to win in two separate Olympia divisions (212, Males’s Open).
A seven-time 212 Olympia champion (2012-2018), Lewis loved a pleasant rivalry with Lunsford towards the tail finish of his reign, most notably overcoming the younger runner-up in the course of the 2018 version of the competition. Which may make Lewis extra geared up than most to grasp what Lunsford is able to at bodybuilding’s highest ranges.
Lewis maintained he’d saved a detailed eye on Lunsford since his sole 212 title in 2021 and that he unquestionably sees him because the athlete to beat in November in Orlando, FL.
“Going into this 12 months’s Olympia , I mentioned to so many individuals, ‘Derek Lunsford is the one,’” Lewis defined. “That  Pittsburgh Pro, that blew my thoughts and everybody else’s. I believed to myself, ‘Thank god that man’s not within the 212 [division] anymore.’ I additionally mentioned to myself, ‘Thank god I’m not competing within the Open class towards this man.’ I additionally mentioned, ‘whoever goes to be standing subsequent to that man is in for a handful.’”
Past speaking about Lunsford’s physique, Lewis all however painted him because the inevitable first-ever “champ-champ” — the primary bodybuilder in historical past who may win a title in two main Olympia divisions.
With a victory on the 2023 Olympia, Lunsford very properly may stay as much as this billing.
“What you’ve accomplished for the reason that 212 is truthfully so inspiring,” Lewis instructed Lunsford. “You say that you just have been by no means capable of dethrone me, however what I can say about you, is, I may need crushed you within the 212 class however now you’re going to be, in my eyes, the primary ever champ-champ.”
Lewis expressed that one of many targets of his aggressive profession was to win an Olympia title in two divisions. The icon by no means competed in a division exterior of the 212 on the tentpole bodybuilding contests. Now that these days are behind him, he’ll stay vicariously by Lunsford’s exploits.
“It was my motivation to be the first-ever two-division champ-champ,” Lewis mentioned. “You now, whether or not you considered it or not, it was consuming for me … I’ll by no means be capable to obtain that now that I’m retired. I wish to see you go to the moon and again.”
Lewis isn’t the primary bodybuilding legend to place his religion in Lunsford on the 2023 Olympia. Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman (1998-2005) and long-time coach Miloš Šarčev have each beforehand expressed their belief within the younger famous person’s possibilities at historic success.
Now Lunsford will simply must stay as much as the hype.