2014 OCB YANKEE CLASSIC BODYBUILDING COMPETITION
JULY 19, 2014 • NEWBURYPORT, MA
"I can't tell you if you have a shot at winning because we don't know your odds until you get to the contest," Coach Christian Matyi, aka "XN," told Ali days before the 2014 OCB Yankee Classic Bodybuilding Competition. "But I can say this: your body is of the quality that wins shows. You are going in with at least that caliber."
The words, while avoiding predictive claims, nonetheless held a nugget of prognostication because Alireza not only won the Overall Prize in the event but also earned his Pro Card for the IFPA, entitling him to compete as a professional bodybuilder.
Both Ali (Atlas, Spring '14) and his coach XN competed in the competition. And not only that: in the same class. The class' official name was "Class C," which is essentially the same as saying "Men's Tall."
This was only Ali's second contest, which show how dedicated to his craft he was this past 8 months. While he is planning on competing again in the near future, he will probably wait a little while before turning pro in order to get more practice under his belt. Pro card or not, he is still new to the game, and few advantages secure success like a bank of experience.
The thrill and pride for Ali was through the roof. He is one of the few Iranian men to turn pro in the IFPA, which is a huge boon for the bodybuilder. His country's pros tend to be primarily non-drug-tested champions, so being one of the few from his homeland with a drug-free distinction is a particular point of extra pride!
Meanwhile, Coach XN is back after over two years of hiatus. He lost his father, Philip John Matyi to Pancreatic Cancer in 2013, and had taken time away during the illness and after the passing to mourn. But coach XN often remarks: "I came to learn what to give me, but I stay to learn what to give them," so while he was a far cry from his "best," he nonetheless held his own. In the end XN was awarded the prize he typically most seeks anyway: the Best Poser prize, for a routine that is posted below,
ALI & XN IN THE MEN'S OPEN CLASS "C"
XN IN THE MEN'S OPEN CLASS "C"