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The Item: Career Updates, Contest Preparation, Andrew Oye's IFBB Pro Athletes Roundup

The Scoop: Recently Announced: IFBB Pro Richard "Tricky" Jackson is training to hit the competition stage at the upcoming IFBB Tampa Pro Bodybuilding Championships (July 17). It turns out slick Tricky is stirring up a little trouble in the process. In a training video recently posted online, Jackson boasts, "I'm 206 lbs. Body fat is about 4%. Waistline is 30 inches. I'm ripped and ready to go." He goes on to challenge the other IFBB Pro League athletes he will battle in the 202 Class, referring to them as, "Jose 'Little Abs' Raymond and Roc 'Small Thighs' Shabazz." The winner of the Best Poser Award in Tampa last year says, "Tell 'em Tricky's coming for them!"

The "So What?": Everyone can relax. Tricky quickly explained that his comments were made in jest -- just a little pre-game hype akin to boxing's glory days -- which is evident in the video. In fact, his onstage competitors are his off-stage buddies. IFBB Pro Jose Raymond, Jackson's 'Pro Muscle Radio' show co-host, even chimed in about the fun they're having with the pre-contest rivalry and smack talk. "This vid is all about fun and promotion," Jackson replied. "Who better to promote the 202 than the 202 athletes? Everyone I mentioned I am really cool with and Jose is my dawg. But at the end of the day, we all have to get on stage together and then it is kill or be killed (lol). Let s make it exciting, Jose."

As reported in "Andrew Oye's Pro-Muscle Report," Jackson earned his IFBB Pro card at the 2005 NPC National Bodybuilding Championships, as did Raymond. He last competed at Joe Weider's Olympia Weekend last September, where he placed 7th behind Olympia 202 Showdown winner IFBB Pro Kevin English and, in succession, IFBB Pro David Henry, IFBB Pro Eduardo Correa, IFBB Pro Mark Dugdale, IFBB Flex Lewis and then Raymond. Meanwhile, in the Open Division, IFBB Pro Jay Cutler won his third Sandow, reclaiming the Mr. Olympia from 2008 winner IFBB Pro Dexter Jackson, who placed 3rd behind IFBB Pro Branch Warren.

Andrew Oye's Verdict: A good-natured guy, IFBB Pro Tricky Jackson is a true promoter of the sport (literally, promoting his own annual NPC contest in Kentucky) who is always trying to bring some excitement to bodybuilding. When I interviewed Jackson in the past, he expressed the necessity for 202 Division competitors to generate the buzz for their division that Open Division competitors don't have to work for. In Tampa, IFBB Pro Troy Alves, IFBB Pro Ben White, IFBB Pro Michael Kefalianos  and IFBB Pro Hidetada Yamagishi will be contending for the Open Division title, where Olympia qualification is on the line. The 202 Division pros hope as anticipation grows, it will convince promoters of the Arnold Sports Festival to add a contest for them at the IFBB Pro Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic Bodybuilding Championships (which has been won by the likes of IFBB Pro Rich Gaspari, IFBB Pro Ronnie Coleman, IFBB Pro Flex Wheeler, IFBB Pro Kevin Levrone, IFBB Pro Vince Taylor, and IFBB Pro Mike Francois).

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