Lewis thinks Lunsford is on monitor 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 beneath his belt, some members of the bodybuilding neighborhood assume 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 changing 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 through the 2018 version of the competition. That may make Lewis extra geared up than most to know what Lunsford is able to at bodybuilding’s highest ranges.
Lewis maintained he’d stored an in depth 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 yr’s Olympia , I stated to so many individuals, ‘Derek Lunsford is the one,’” Lewis defined. “That  Pittsburgh Professional, that blew my thoughts and everybody else’s. I assumed to myself, ‘Thank god that man’s not within the 212 [division] anymore.’ I additionally stated to myself, ‘Thank god I’m not competing within the Open class towards this man.’ I additionally stated, ‘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 nicely would possibly reside as much as this billing.
“What you’ve finished because the 212 is truthfully so inspiring,” Lewis instructed Lunsford. “You say that you simply have been by no means in a position to dethrone me, however you recognize 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 objectives 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 reside vicariously by way of Lunsford’s exploits.
“It was my motivation to be the first-ever two-division champ-champ,” Lewis stated. “You now, whether or not you considered it or not, it was consuming for me … I’ll by no means be capable of obtain that now that I’m retired. I need 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 perception within the younger celebrity’s possibilities at historic success.
Now Lunsford will simply must reside as much as the hype.