VIDEO: Next big thing Ben ‘The Badger’ Brunning vows to be 2020 Britain’s Strongest Man
MOVE over Eddie Hall, Graham Hicks and all the rest - a new strongman who recently lifted a European title in South Yorkshire is returning in a bid to be Britain's Strongest Man.
Ben ‘The Badger’ Brunning is out to prove he's the next big thing, following in the footsteps of the likes of retired World’s Strongest Man Hall and 2019 BSM winner Hicks, at Sheffield FlyDSA Arena on Saturday, January 18.
But he must overcome a formidable best of British line up including legends Terry Hollands, Mark Felix, Adam Bishop, brothers Luke and Tom Stoltman and Sheffield's own Paul Smith,
BUY TICKETS: Seats for the Giants Live Britain's Strongest Man event are £28.13 to £196.88, with VIP tickets available including the chance to meet the strongmen. Visit www.flydsaarena.co.uk, call 0114 256 565 or visit www.giants-live.com.
Ben, who works full time at a builder's yard, is already a three times Wales' Strongest Man champion.
The 32-year-old showed his real potential though when he won The Official Strongman European Championships at Rotherham United's former Millmoor Stadium, in August.
He followed that with an awe-inspiring showing at the Giants Live promoted World Tour Finals in Manchester when he out lifted, out ran and out placed international strongman royalty to take the silver trophy behind second strongest man on the planet, Mateusz Kieslowski.
It has already earned him a coveted place at World’s Strongest Man 2020 but first he has his sights on that British crown.
The jaw dropping strength competition, being filmed again for TV's Channel 5 as part of the World’s Strongest Man series, will see the City of Steel welcome the return of the iron men for a third consecutive year.
Also hoping to cause a major upset is the city's world record holder Smith, 25, who has called on home town strongman fans to help cheer him on to victory.
He hold's the world record time of 62.68 seconds in the Hammer Hold, a brutal test of strength where athletes grit their teeth and take the pain to hold a giant 30kg so-called Thor’s Hammer at arms length, as long as they can.
Smith finished fifth when the adrenaline-pumped competition returned at the start of 2019.
Other hopefuls on the bill include John Pollock, Luke Richardson, Ryan England and Mark Steele.
Brunning, who works full time at Travis Perkins builders’ merchants, revealed after winning the Official Strongman European Championships in August he was back at work at 7am on the Monday morning.
He shrugged it off, saying: “Someone else was taking the day off, it is what it is".
The Badger says there is more pressure to win now he's no longer an underdog.
He confessed: “To be honest I’m scared. Before I was an underdog, nobody knew who I was, where I placed nobody really cared. There’s a lot more at stake for me than there ever has been, I’m just going to try and control that and go into it clear headed like normal.
“I see everyone as my main rival. Everyone who’s there can beat me as easily as I can beat them. But I really want to beat Luke Richardson because he just beat me at the Official Strongman Games in Florida, so if I can get a win back on him I’ll be happy as Larry!
“Who’s going to win? I don’t know! It’s going to be such a close field; I have no idea!” With reigning champion, Graham Hicks, out of the frame and an incredible field of world-class athletes, a new British champion will be crowned.
World’s Strongest bodybuilder, Terry Hollands, is hoping to claim his second British title 12 years after his last, while Scotland's strongest brothers, Luke and Tom Stoltman, will also be hopig to top the podium, as will 53-year-old super human Mark Felix and hotly tipped Adam Bishop,
With five gruelling challenges, hoisting giant logs, lifting atlas stones and more, there’s a lot at stake – including a golden ticket to compete at 2020’s World's Strongest Man.
Giants Live Director, Darren Sadler, said:"We are delighted to return to Sheffield where we get great support with huge crowds. We offer a VIP ticket and fans can also get the chance to meet Paul and the other strongmen.
"But with Christmas coming and the World's Strongest Man on TV during the festive period, tickets will sell fast so buy now to avoid disappointment."
*Note, due to the nature of the event, the line-up of stars is always subject to change.