by John Plummer

Photography by Kevin Horton

You can view and buy individual photos of this event here https://www.ukbffphotos.com/2018/EAST-OF-ENGLAND-CHAMPIONSHIPS

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De Montfort Hall in Leicester once again hosted the UKBFF East of England Championships. Great champions of yesteryear, most notably absolute legend Paula Bircumshaw, and new stars like Andrea Corbett and Joval Gordon, were amongst those handing out trophies in the battle to win places at next month's British Championships.

On the same weekend five UKBFF athletes flew to Austria for the latest IFBB Diamond Cup in their quest for Elite Pro cards. Rebeka Tunegova, Calvin Rhun, Abdulrahman Aloumi, Dave Walters and Mahmoud Elmawardy all represented the UK with distinction.

Hamzah Bondary wins junior bodybuilding. PHOTO: Kevin Horton

Hamzah Bondary wins junior bodybuilding. PHOTO: Kevin Horton


Leicester personal trainer Hamzah Bondary started the show in style by winning the juniors with a wonderful X shape. Hamzah's back – a weakness for many juniors – especially caught the eye and he'd clearly worked on his posing too.

The contrasting physiques of Joe Carvalho and Eric Davies contested the over 40s. Joe was more aesthetic, with a tight waist, nice flow and healthy appearance. Eric had greater mass, especially in the legs, big traps and was hard. Joe got the verdict.

The over-50s was a David v Goliath battle between Andrew Hanson, the smaller guy who looked sharp and full, with tons of vascularity, and the bigger Dariusz Zuk, who had more muscle. On this occasion, Goliath won.

In the over 90 kg bodybuilding, John Gair's extra muscularity, and pleasing shape, overcame Jim Denbigh, who was 3 kg lighter than he was at the previous week's show in Leicester.

The up to 90 kg class saw two high quality physiques go head-to-head. Runner-up Eugen Matis brought a lot of dense muscle to the stage and gave a great posing routine. James Dunsby, the winner, also had good mass and was a little crisper.

Connor Rendchen was the pick of the under 80 kg class. Connor had excellent legs and arms, good abs and nailed his condition. Runner-up Karl Butler also had a big set of wheels.

Two well conditioned guys did battle in classic physique. Lee Hersey, the winner, was tight and had a good stab at doing the difficult vacuum pose. Classic bodybuilding winner Sergey Ribalkin had a nice shape.


Alex Woods had a roller coaster day: he was all set to enter junior men's physique until the officials said his level of development was better suited to muscular men's physique. It meant he had to hang around for several hours to get on stage but proved worthwhile as he finished first. Alex certainly wasn't lacking muscle, despite his youth, and was tight.

There was no shortage of quality in the up to 179 cm men's physique class. The super-shaped Antonio Ajewole in third place dazzled with his shape and confident stage manner but the day belonged to two sharper rivals, runner-up Carl Hewer and winner Billy Croson, who was hard as nails.

Joe Hewitt was cheered to victory by his young daughter in the over 179 cm class, where he had the most complete look.

Ali Blight came in tighter than the previous week and was rewarded with first place in the juniors.

Lukasz Kaczmarczyk, who won a large rookie line-up, was hard and full with a nice shape.

Michael Belgrave's tattooed, striated upper body propelled him to victory in the masters.


Former The Great British Bake Off competitor Ugne Bubnaityte is no stranger to having to impress judges and she succeeded with flying colours here. Ugne has clearly not been messing around since she competed last year: carrying an additional 5 kg of muscle, and still in decent shape with a killer set of legs, she put down a marker for the British finals in masters bodyfitness.

Julia Hunter showed plenty of potential in winning women's physique. Julia has good leg development and a nice muscular shape, which with some refinement could do well in this class.

Wellness winner Sarah Ekanem was a picture of health: everything from her glowing skin to her posing costume complemented her shapely lower body. It was a tight call, however, as runner-up Suz Ferreira brought her best package to the stage so far, with terrific legs and glutes.

Ashleigh Jackson was the star of the day in bikini fitness, winning the open class in style. Ashleigh has the right level of development for bikini fitness and her shape and balance were outstanding. Runner-up Bhavika Parmar, who also secured a British finals invite, also has the potential to shine in this class.

Hollie Webster was another to seize the day, taking rookie bikini fitness with outstanding legs and glutes that stood out in the rear poses.

Natalie Lawrence's flowing lines and sleek legs took the first place trophy in masters bikini fitness. Chelsy Osborne was a polished junior bikini fitness winner, with lovely shape and balance,


Junior Bodybuilding

1 Hamzah Bondary

2 Nikhil Joshi

3 Joshua Bowater

Junior Bikini Fitness

1 Chelsy Osborne

Junior Men's Physique

1 Alexander Blight

2 Daniel Coulton

3 Harry Peace

also competed: Dominic Astill

Rookie Bikini Fitness

1 Hollie Webster

2 Hayleigh Featherstone

3 Ruta Cerniauskaite


1 Sarah Ekanem

2 Suz Ferreira

3 Fiwnley Whitbread

Rookie Men's Physique

1 Lukasz Kaczmarczyk

2 Yad Bazhdar

3 Adam Steele

also competed: Michael Puddicombe, Harpeet Singh Sekhon, Seyed Hussainy and Bruce Langton

Masters Bodybuilding over 40

1 Joe Carvalho

2 Eric Davies

Masters Bodybuilding over 50

1 Dariusz Zuk

2 Andrew Hanson

Masters Men's Physique

1 Michael Belgrave

2 David Moss

3 Christopher Harrison

also competed: Liam Gol and Piotr Olekszy

Masters Bikini Fitness

1 Natalie Lawrence

2 Toni Charles

3 Louise Brady

Masters Bodyfitness

1 Ugne Bubnaityte


1 Jade Cadby

Classic Bodybuilding

1 Sergey Ribalkin

Bodybuilding up to 80 kg

1 Connor Rendchen

2 Karl Butler

3 Anthony Docres

also competed: Nadeem Younas

Bodybuilding up to 90 kg

1 James Dunsby

2 Eugen Matis

Bodybuilding over 90 kg

1 John Gair

2 Jim Denbigh

Women's Physique

1 Julia Hunter

2 Edita Klavsova

Classic Physique

1 Lee Hersey

2 Reza Rezamand

Bikini Fitness

1 Ashleigh Jackson

2 Bhavika Parmar

3 Tyler Bell

also competed: Roksana Mikosinsua

Muscular Men's Physique

1 Alex Woods

2 Adam Wadey

3 Wagner Rocha

Men's Physique up to 179 cm

1 Billy Croson

2 Carl Hewer

3 Antonio Ajewole

also competed: Darius Guevarra, Grant Baggotts and Stephen Hardy

Men's Physique over 179 cm

1 Joe Hewitt

2 Ashish Patel

3 Tomas Tieber