TOP 18 IPL STORIES OF 2018!
Season #3 is in the history books! What an amazing year!
As always, huge THANK YOU to IPL Athletes, Promoters, Staff, Coaches, Trainers, Vendors, Sponsors, Friends, and Families! Without you, the IPL would not be possible!
Over the next six weeks we will be counting down the top 18 IPL stories of 2018!
#18 KING KARL HALL RETAINS HIS APEX PRO MEN’S BODYBUILDING TITLE
In 2017 Karl Hall had a crazy year on the IPL stage. He made history by becoming the IPL’s first ever Pro Men’s Bodybuilding champion, won a second Pro title, and ended his year at APEX II where he won pro title #3 and became the IPL’s first ever APEX Pro Men’s Bodybuilding Champ.
In 2018 Hall stayed on top. Karl was featured in the Spring 2018 issue of NATURALMAG describing his incredible 2017 success and landed on the front cover of the Spring 2018 issue of Natural Gainz Magazine.
2018 IPL APEX III had Hall against 1X IPL Pro Champ, Brian Lorenz. Although Lorenz brought his best look to date, it was not enough to topple the King. Will anyone push 4X (undefeated) Pro Champ Karl Hall off his throne in 2019??? We look forward to finding out!
#17 BRITTNEY TRUMAN TRIUMPHS IN PRO FITNESS ANGELS
Brittney Truman kicked off her 2018 season at the IPL SoCal Pro/Am in September. At that contest Brittney made her IPL Pro Debut in Fitness Angels and was incredible…physique, presentation, colorful, unique, eye-catching wings/outfit…At the SoCal Pro, Brittney Truman became only the fourth athlete to ever earn an IPL Pro Fitness Angels title.
In SoCal she also placed 1st in Bikini Novice and 1st in Bikini Open Class A, earning her IPL Bikini Pro Card.
Then it was on to IPL Southwest Grand Prix Pro in Phoenix AZ, the following month. At this contest Brittney was stunning as she charged her way to her second Pro Fitness Angels title. At that time, Brittney was the first and only athlete to ever earn two Pro Fitness Angels titles in the IPL’s history.
At the Southwest Grand Prix Brittney also made her Pro Bikini Debut, placing 3rd.
Brittney ended her year at IPL APEX III, the IPL’s year-end pinnacle championship event, where she placed 3rd in Pro Fitness Angels, 4th in Pro Bikini, 1st in Amateur Open Evening Gown (earning her IPL Pro Card) and 3rd in Amateur Open Women’s Sports Model.
Although Brittney did not walk away with the Pro APEX Fitness Angels title, she certainly put herself on the map in this division in 2018!
We are excited to see what 2019 has in store for miss Truman!
#16 PRO BIKINI AT THE AZ PRO
2018, the IPL’s third complete season, saw the largest Pro Bikini lineup to date. Six top Pros descended on the 3rd Annual IPL Arizona Championship & Tawnya Cline Natural Bikini Magazine Classic at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa Arizona on May 27th for this power-packed showdown.
In the end, Pro Champion Elli Nichole proved once again too much to handle as she propelled her way to 1st place and earned Pro Bikini title number three. That win also earned Elli a one-year Natural Bikini Magazine Sponsorship. Followed by Rebecca Unruh (2nd), Dawn Davis (3rd), Tabetha Hernandez (4th), Michelle Alexander (5th) and Sunny Miller (6th).
Check out an awesome video of AZ Pro Bikini Prejudging here!
What will be the largest Pro Bikini class of the 2019 season??? We are excited to find out!
#15 PRO BIKINI AT THE SOUTHWEST GRAND PRIX PRO
Similar to the IPL Arizona Pro five months prior, the Phoenix Arizona 3rd Annual IPL Southwest Grand Prix Pro Bikini lineup was CRAY! Arguably, up until this time, the most competitive lineup in Pro Bikini that the IPL had ever seen.
In this lineup was Lylian Muttakyawa – hitting the Pro stage for her second time, and at her all-time best. 5X IPL Pro Bikini Champion Elli Nichole. Brittney Truman – making her Pro Bikini Debut and, at the time, at her all-time best. Kristen Perez – hitting the Pro stage for her third time and, at the time, at her all-time best. And, wild-card, last-minute entry competitor Christian DeAngelis – making her Pro Debut and on stage for the first time since she won her IPL Pro Card two years prior.
One of the major highlights of this lineup was the battle between Elli Nichole and Lylian Muttakyawa. In the end Elli would prevail for her 6th Pro Bikini win, but Lylian pushed Elli to the max and nearly took the class. Elli ended with 212 points to Lylian’s 209, out of a max of 240. Brittney Truman 3rd, Christian DeAngelis 4th and Kristen Perez 5th.
Of course there would be yet another Pro Bikini lineup that would topple them all in 2018. More on that later in the countdown…
#14 NEW MEN’S ATHLETIC OPEN PROS
The 2018 IPL season welcomed perhaps the league’s most exciting lineup of new Men’s Athletic Pros to date.
This year, ten incredibly talented men would join this division’s Pro ranks, taking IPL Pro Men’s Athletic to the next level. Karlos Velazquez (SoCal), Vince Cline (AZ), Daniel Smith (TX), Jean-Pierre Amo (Tahiti), Luis Briseno (SoCal), Julliaan Irvin (AZ), Ricky Loayza (AZ), Rubin Valverde (SoCal), Ethan Bagwill (NorCal) and Johnny Dotson (TX).
We are excited to see these guys hit the IPL Pro stage!
#13 PRO MEN’S ATHLETIC AT THE AZ PRO
The 2018 season brought the IPL’s largest Pro Men’s Athletic lineup to date. In the IPL’s previous two seasons, Pro Men’s Athletic topped out at two competitors. In May of 2018 five men descended upon Mesa Arizona to battle it out at the 3rd Annual IPL Arizona Pro. This lineup included Zyrian Apurillo (1X Pro Champ & NATURALMAG summer 2018 cover guy), Zack Smith (Pro Debut), Alejandro Sigala (Pro Debut & NATURALMAG fall 2017 cover guy), Karlos Velazquez (Pro Debut) and James Niezen (Pro Debut).
When the dust settled, Zyrian Apurillo would snag his second Pro title becoming only the second man to ever hold two Pro Men’s Athletic titles.
1st Zyrian Apurillo
2nd Zack Smith
3rd Alejandro Sigala
4th Karlos Velazquez
5th James Niezen
Also of note from Pro Men’s Athletic at this contest was the controversy that ensued as a result of this decision. Many believe that 2nd place finisher Zack Smith was more deserving of the win. What ensued was a social media backlash immediately following the contest. Although the IPL firmly stands by the placements, there is no doubt that Zack Smith looked phenomenal, and with conditioning that was off the charts.
In fact, the look the Zack brought to the AZ Pro landed him on the front cover of the fall 2018 issue of Natural Ganz Magazine. This cover story featured one of the most controversial and heated debates that the magazine has ever seen.
All this being said, in the end, there was no love lost and all is well in Pro Men’s Athletic. We look forward to more exciting battles (and magazine cover guys) coming from this division in 2019!
#12 ZYRIAN APURILLO WINS APEX, MAKES HISTORY
Zyrian Apurillo kicked off his year by landing the front cover of the Summer 2018 issue of NATURALMAG. His first contest of the season was the 2018 IPL Arizona Pro, where he earned his second Pro Men’s Athletic title. This win made Zyrian one of only two athletes to hold two titles in Pro Men’s Athletic.
Zyrian’s final stop was IPL APEX III on November 17th in Phoenix, Arizona. At this contest he would enter the first ever Pro Men’s Athletic APEX Showdown in the IPL’s three year history. Here he would face 1X IPL Pro Men’s Athletic Champion and Texan Daniel Smith.
In an exciting showdown between the two, Zyrian emerged victorious. With this win Zyrian Apurillo made history, becoming the IPL’s first ever Pro APEX Men’s Athletic Champion. This also makes Zyrian the most of winning IPL Pro Men’s Athletic Champion, with three Pro titles.
We are pumped to see what’s in store for Zyrian and the Pro Men’s Athletic division in 2019!
#11 PRO FITNESS ANGELS
2018 brought with it incredible excitement in IPL Pro Fitness Angels. First off, the season welcomed five amazing new Pros to the league. Abigail Comstock from the California Championship, Turia Avaepii from the Tahiti Championship, Anna Carranza from the Arizona Championship, Carolina Silva from the SoCal Pro/Am and Cinthia Beltran from the West Coast Pro/Am.
Some extra highlights in this division are Abigail Comstock landing the front cover of fall issue NATURALMAG and Cinthia Beltran landing the front cover of the winter issue of Natural Bikini Magazine. Cinthia’s cover issue is the “IPL Pro Fitness Angels Issue”, dedicated to the division.
Also of note, Brittany Truman became the fourth Pro Fitness Angels champion in the IPL’s history and went on to win two Pro titles this season. And finally, Elli Nichole won her first Pro Fitness Angels title, becoming the IPL’s fifth Pro Fitness Angels Champion, and went on to become the first ever IPL APEX Pro Fitness Angels Champion.
What an amazing year for IPL Pro Fitness Angels! We are excited to see what lies in store for this division in 2019!
#10 ELLI TIES TAWNYA’S RECORD, THEN BREAKS IT
With five contests across three states, Elli Nichole was certainly one of the most active athletes on the 2018 IPL circuit.
Elli kicked off her 2018 season with the Arizona Pro in May where she competed in Pro Bikini, Pro Sports Model and Pro Evening Gown, earning 1st place in all three.
Then it was on to the Texas Pro in September. At that contest Elli competed in Pro Bikini and Pro Evening Gown, earning two more wins.
Then she hit the stage at the West Coast Pro in Sacramento in September. At that contest she entered Pro Bikini, Pro Fitness Angels, Pro Sports Model, and Pro Evening Gown earning 1st place wins in all four.
After racking up these wins in Sacramento, Elli’s Pro title count came to fourteen, tying with IPL Pro Tawnya Cline. An incredible feat, especially considering Tawnya’s record had gone undisturbed for more than two years. Also of note is that the athlete next in line was Julia Hubbard with seven Pro titles.
Next, Elli would hit the stage for her fourth contest, the Southwest Grand Prix Pro in Phoenix, AZ in October. Here she competed in Pro Bikini and Pro Evening Gown where she earned two more titles, taking her W count to 16.
With 16 Pro titles, Elli became the most winning Pro in the IPL’s history.
Up to that point Elli had achieved Six Pro Bikini titles. One Pro Fitness Angels title. Three Pro Sports Model titles. And, six Pro Evening Gown titles.
Of course, there was one more contest on Elli’s 2018 schedule…
#9 ELLI DEFEATS TAWNYA
The scene was the 3rd Annual IPL West Coast Pro in Sacramento, CA in September.
Included on the roster of Pro Athletes were two IPL Pros who are so active and with such competition success that they can be referred to on a first-name only basis…and you immediately know who we are talking about.
Heading into Sacramento Tawnya had appeared on two stages in 2018. Her first was the SoCal Classic in April. At that contest Tawnya did not compete at the Pro level. Already an IPL Pro in Masters Evening Gown, she took aim at Amateur Evening Gown Open where she placed 1st, earning her IPL Pro card.
Then it was on to the California Pro in May where she placed 1st in Pro Bikini, earning her third career IPL Pro Bikini title. Heading into the West Coast Pro Tawnya had achieved 12 total career IPL Pro titles and was the most winning IPL Pro up to that point.
Elli kicked off her 2018 season in May at the Arizona Pro. At that contest she earned three Pro titles.
Then, at the Texas Pro in September, she earned two more Pro titles.
Heading into the West Coast Pro Elli had 10 career IPL Pro titles to her name and was the second most winning IPL Pro to date. The stage was certainly set for incredible excitement at the West Coast Pro.
Worthy of note is what Elli brought to the stage at the Texas Pro just two weeks prior. At that contest she had achieved what few would argue was her best look to date. Would Elli be able to hold on to this look heading into Cali? Would she be able to improve upon it?
Of course Elli would be facing reigning IPL APEX Bikini & Sports Model Pro Champion and the most winning IPL Pro. Could she deliver what it would take to topple the queen? Adding to the excitement was the fact that Elli would be facing Tawnya in not one, but three divisions. Pro Bikini, Pro Women’s Sports Model and Pro Evening Gown.
In what resulted in one of the IPL’s most nail-biting-ley thrilling showdowns, it became clear that Elli Nicole’s look had more “pop” than Cline’s on this day. And that is how the scorecards played out with Elli taking each of the three Pro titles and in the process first tying Tawnya’s record of wins at 12, then exceeding that record with 13.
Of course the season was not over quite yet, but this moment in IPL history certainly goes down as one of the most exciting, ever.
Shout out to Abigail Comstock who landed in a very respectable 3rd place in Pro Sports Model in her IPL PRO debut.
#8 SEAM MAGAZINE
When it comes to magazine publishing in the natural bodybuilding and physique competition space, there is no doubt that the International Physique League (and parent company MiBoLife Publishing) is the industry leader.
Taking our sport, and more importantly IPL athletes, beyond the stage and delving into the stories behind the athletes in a way that is has never been done before.
Then, in 2018, the game was changed once again.
SEAM Magazine set a new stage for the publishing house.
Not only would SEAM showcase and celebrate IPL athletes, but it would feature topics related to fashion, beauty, culture, lifestyle and glamour to create a truly beautiful publication. And, adding even more awesomeness to this mag, IPL Pro Annie Minkler is it’s Editor-in-Chief.
MiBoLife Publishing has truly become a media machine.
With all of this creative excitement, one can only imagine what the future has in store!
#7 IPL SOCAL
The International Physique League first touched down in Southern California in September 2017. Although relatively small, the IPL SoCal Classic contest carried with it enough excitement to set the stage for future events in the region.
The second IPL SoCal contest was on April 14th 2018, the 2nd Annual SoCal Classic. This contest featured double the number of competitors as the first, and firmly planted the IPL on the Southern California map.
Then, the third IPL SoCal contest took place on September 8th 2018 and featured the first Pro level in the region. This contest (the IPL SoCal Pro/Am) had more than triple the competitor numbers as the first contest just a year prior. WOW.
Some highlights of IPL SoCal 2018 include of 17 new Pros Qualifications and 2 new Pro Champions. In addition, new IPL Bikini and Fitness Angels Pro Carolina Silva would land the front cover of the winter 2018 issue of NATURALMAG.
How’s that for IPL SoCal!
Now the question is, how much IPL SoCal awesomeness will occur in 2019???
#6 PRO BIKINI AT IPL APEX III
Pro Bikini always proves to be a highlight at APEX (The IPL’s Year-end Pinnacle Championship Event), and the 2018 version was certainly on par.
Four top IPL Bikini Pros would battle it out at IPL APEX III. Brittney Truman making her Pro APEX Debut, Reigning Pro APEX Champion (and 3X IPL Pro Bikini Champion) Tawnya Cline, 6X IPL Pro Bikini Champion Elli Nichole (heading into her second Pro APEX) and Kristen Perez making her Pro APEX Debut!
The excitement leading up to this show down was intense. There would be no doubt that each athlete would be bringing her A-game, which certainly proved to be the case come showtime.
Some of the most pressing questions were, “Would Cline repeat and retrain her APEX title?” “Would Elli, who technically had more Pro Bikini titles than Cline, be able to take the crown?” Especially considering she had just defeated Cline seven weeks prior at the West Coast Pro.
Then, of course, Truman and Perez would surely be pushing for the top spot as well.
So, how did things turn out??? Of course most, if not all, already know the answer. But, keep an eye out for more APEX Pro Bikini on this countdown!
#5 APEX III – TAWNYA TAKES ALL
At last year’s APEX Tawnya Cline took home four Pro titles. Pro Bikini Open & Masters and Pro Sports Model Open & Masters. Making her reigning Pro APEX Champ in four classes.
Tawnya kicked of her 2018 season with the SoCal Classic in April. At that contest she competed in Amateur Evening Gown Open, where she placed 1st and earned her IPL Pro Card in that division.
Then it was on to the California Pro in May, where she earned her third Pro Bikini title.
Her last contest, before APEX III, was the West Coast Pro/Am in September in Sacramento, California. At that contest Tawnya added two more Pro titles to her collection. Pro Sports Model Masters and Pro Evening Gown Masters. However, at that contest, a “Top of Her Game” Elli Nichole would force Tawnya to settle for 2nd place in three Pro divisions. Pro Bikini Open, Pro Sports Model Open and Pro Evening Gown Open.
These wins would propel Elli to the number one spot as far as career IPL Pro wins, with 16. Tawnya with 14.
It was this “situation” that would fuel one of the most exciting rematches in IPL contest history. And what better stage than APEX III.
Would Cline be able to recover from the Cali show, improve, and take these titles back? Would she be able to retain her reigning Pro APEX status? How would things turn out for Cline in her first Pro Evening Gown APEX showing? Especially considering Elli Nicole was the reigning Evening Gown APEX Pro Champ? So much at stake it could make your head spin!
Soooo…..how did it go down in APEX town????
TAWNYA. TOOK. ALL!
PRO BIKINI 1st place
PRO MASTERS WOMEN’S SPORTS MODEL 1st place
PRO WOMEN’S SPORTS MODEL 1st place
PRO MASTERS EVENING GOWN 1st place
PRO EVENING GOWN 1st place
With these wins Tawnya retained all titles and is now reigning APEX Pro Champion in six classes.
And, she is once again the most winning IPL Pro, with 19 career Pro titles. WOW!
#4 MICHAEL BROOKS PHOTOGRAPHY
It is simply impossible to create a collage of images captured in 2018 by Michael Brooks that does justice to this man’s artistry.
The Directory of Photography for the International Physique League and MiBoLife Publishing is a master of his craft of creativity.
The colors, the angles, the clarity, the excitement. Brilliant photographs that become magazine covers, magazine features and spreads. Images that inspire on social media and the web. Some of which have even become iconic.
Of course it is the athletes that prep and train and pose for these photos, but it’s the artist who captures these moments and makes them immortal.
One can only wonder what imagery lies in store for the upcoming season!
#3 IPL GOES TO PRINT
The very first magazine from MiBoLife Publishing (the parent company of the International Physique League) was released on February 1st 2013. That magazine was NATURALMAG. Over the course of the next five years, four additional magazine titles would launch. Natural Gainz Magazine, Natural Bikini Magazine, Vigorous Magazine, and SEAM Magazine. All published in digital PDF download format only.
In 2018 a massive and ambitious initiative would be achieved with the release of printed issues of all five titles. Readers could know hold these incredible magazine publications in their hands, changing the game forever.
Never before had the sport seen an actual publishing house dedicated to showcasing “Natural”, drug-tested physique athletes in digital form, and certainly not in print.
Already the leader in publicity, news, and media for drug-tested Physique Competition, this milestone would propel MiBoLife Publishing and the International Physique League even further ahead as the preeminent pioneer in the field.
#2 MEDIA, MAGAZINES, EXPOSURE, PUBLICITY, PROMOTION
This is not just a “story”, but more so a culmination of stories.
As everyone knows by now, the IPL is synonymous with media and the promotion of our athletes. From social media to the IPL website to our newsletter to our magazines and accompanying magazine websites, the IPL is non-stop publicity, reaching a global audience.
With so many incredible, “natural”, drug-free IPL athletes, there is just so much to publicize.
One can only wonder what, and WHO, 2019 has in store!
#1 ZERO DRUG-TEST FAILURES
The irony of the #1 story of 2018 is that it never became a story at all.
The International Physique League was created to change the game and set a new standard in our sport, specifically on the “Natural” side. Of primary importance and priority was taking drastic and intensive steps towards eradicating the use of performance enhancing drugs and banned substances. And creating a safe, level and fair playing field for athletes.
When the IPL was announced in May of 2015 a radical drug-testing protocol was introduced. The IPL would use the World Anti-doping Agency’s (WADA) complete Prohibited Substance List. Not only that, but the IPL would utilize a third-party urine sample collecting company to manage the testing protocol and sample collection chain of command.
But what’s more, and perhaps the most shocking declaration, was the IPL’s commitment to exposing all drug-test failures. The idea behind all this was that this would certainly serve as a very serious deterrent to athletes who choose to use banned substance…as well as those who simply do not research their supplements before ingesting them.
This history-making plan, without a doubt, was the most aggressive initiative ever put forward in the fight to rid our sport of PED’s and Banned Substances.
In 2015 there were two drug-test failures in the IPL. In 2016 there were five. And in 2017 there were four. 11 in all.
Then, in 2018, there were NONE.
This major milestone with regards to the IPL’s drug testing program is incredibly significant. Significant for the IPL and our sport, in general. Perhaps the message set in 2015 finally became clear. The IPL will not tolerate PED’s and Banned Substances in our league.
Hopefully the 2019 season and beyond will continue this trend!
Check out The Top 17 IPL Stories Of 2017
Check out The Top 16 IPL Stories Of 2016
THE INTERNATIONAL PHYSIQUE LEAGUE (IPL)
The International Physique League is a competitive fitness federation celebrating top “Natural”/drug-tested physiques from around the Globe! The IPL offers 7 Pro Qualifying divisions of competition including Bodybuilding, Figure, Athletic, Sports Model, Fitness Angels, Bikini, & Evening Gown.
The IPL maintains the “sport feel” of Physique Competition and we will never veer away from that. We are a sport league and will maintain the integrity and spirit of competitive sporting events. The IPL is not a “Pageant-style” federation. We are also not a bare-bones, nitty gritty operation either. That being said, we do like a little flash and flair and as part of a media company we are looking to create and promote ambassadors who represent true health and fitness.
The IPL is wholly owned by MiBoLife Publishing, the leader in publicity, news, and media for drug-tested Physique Competition. IPL athletes, contests, and events are featured in the following magazine publications: NATURALMAG, NATURAL BIKINI, NATURAL GAINZ, VIGOROUS & SEAM. Five magazines. Tons of potential cover models and countless articles, features, and spreads. Michael Brooks Photography is always on site capturing the incredible energy and excitement, and looking for the next superstars.