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After a slight delay from earlier this year, the 2022 Iron Wars VI took place on May 20, 2022, in Signal Hill, California.
This year’s field featured many elite strength athletes of different disciplines and focuses from all over the world. Bodybuilder Joe Mackey — an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League Men’s Open competitor — had one of the more impressive showings.
During the competition, Mackey captured a 385.5-kilogram (850-pound) deadlift. In roughly two minutes, he also pulled 21 reps at 226.8 kilograms (500 pounds). Mackey wore a lifting belt and lifting straps for both feats.
Elsewhere in the competition, powerlifter and current bench-press world record holder Julius Maddox gave spectators another taste of his prowess. As Maddox continues his pursuit of the rare 800-pound bench press club, he completed a 317.5-kilogram (700-pound) bench press triple. The powerlifter completed his lift raw without any additional equipment.
Notably, Maddox completes the triple relatively easily. After all, Maddox has pressed far more — 361 kilograms (796) pounds as of May 10, 2022. Maddox gained the approval of Iron Wars organizer and former powerlifter/bodybuilder C.T. Fletcher — who praised the bench press extraordinaire over social media.
“The bench king [Julius Maddox] showing why he’s number one in the world by showing up to the greatest show on earth and accepting all the smoke from anybody with the ‘testicular fortitude’ to show the [expletive] up!” wrote Fletcher of Maddox.
Mackey’s Feat in Context
As for Mackey, his 385.5-kilogram (850-pound) pull isn’t his heaviest ever. The bodybuilder/strength sports athlete did unofficially join the 900-pound deadlift club in an April 2022 training session. While there’s no way to check for official bodybuilding deadlift marks, at the time of this writing, it may be the unofficial heaviest pull ever by a professional bodybuilder.
Yet, considering that he logged 21 reps at 226.8 kilograms (500 pounds) afterward, the one-rep pull is worthy of acclaim. Per a caption from the bodybuilder’s Instagram, this figure was Mackey’s long-running goal for the 2022 Iron Wars VI while he prepares for other competitions.
It comes on the heels of an apparent rapid change in his body composition.
“I made it up in my mind that I’d do 850 pounds prior to the event regardless of how lean I am for prep,” Mackey wrote. “I knew that my weight had dropped 20 pounds since the last time I did 900 pounds. However, that didn’t stop me from knowing what I could still do to show up and show out.”
What Lies Ahead
With the 2022 Iron Wars VI in the rearview mirror, Mackey and Maddox can return to their usual focuses.
Mackey hasn’t confirmed his next competition at the time of publishing, but he may try to compete in the 2022 Mr. Olympia, which will occur on December 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. Though, Mackey needs a few top-notch results to qualify for that first.
Meanwhile, Maddox also hasn’t set a date for his next competition. The strength sports world could finally see him join the 800-pound bench press club whenever that happens.
Featured image: jmackey33_ifbbpro