By Alex Zakrzewski, Online Editor
It’s been a dream rookie season for 30-year-old Juan “Diesel” Morel. Roughly six weeks after finishing fourth in his professional debut at the New York Pro, Morel won first place and an Olympia qualification at the 2012 Europa Battle of Champions in Hartford, Connecticut.
Morel’s impressive combination of shape and conditioning was the deciding factor in what was a close battle with second place Mohammad Bannout and third place Essa Obaid.
Bannout’s, well conditioned and proportioned physique fell short of Morel in terms of size but easily earned him the runner-up spot, his best pro showing to date and a marked improvement over last year’s 11th place finish.
Obaid’s third place finish is his best since winning the 2010 Europa Super Show while Fred Smalls and Ronaldo Gairy both cracked the top five for the first time, taking home the fourth and fifth spots respectively.