October in England figures to be a heavyweight battle of British titans.

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This fall, on Oct. 1, 2023, some of the most powerful athletes in England will gather in Doncaster to determine who stands tallest and strongest above their countrymen. They’ll use the 2023 England’s Strongest Man (ESM) competition to parse this competitive evaluation out amongst themselves.

On Mar. 17, 2023, the Official Strongman Games (OSG) and Giants Live organizations revealed the first parts of the 2023 ESM roster. Paul Smith is the defending champion, but there’s no shortage of worthy contenders for the title, even in this initial reveal. The events for the contest have not been confirmed at the time of this writing, but they may be announced at a later date.

Here’s an overview of the current ESM roster:

2023 England’s Strongest Man Roster

  • Paul Smith | Defending Champion
  • Mark Felix
  • Ryan Bennett
  • Shane Flowers
  • Kane Francis

The 2022 ESM roster featured 12 competitors. While the exact number of athletes featured at this year’s iteration isn’t out in the open yet, the expectation is that more will be revealed in the coming weeks and months. Note: Breaking Muscle will update this article accordingly as more strongmen are confirmed for the 2023 ESM.

As for the competitors already announced for the 2023 ESM, some have their own major claims to fame. For example, in addition to his 2022 ESM title, Smith also captured the 2022 UK’s Strongest Man championship. The win may as well have cemented his relative dominance across the Atlantic Ocean.

Meanwhile, 56-year-old Grenadian strongman Mark Felix has been a professional competitor for almost two decades, holding a prolific 17 berths in the annual World’s Strongest Man (WSM). A fixture in the British strongman scene during that time, Felix possesses the World Record on the Wrecking Ball Hold with a time of two minutes and 20.49 seconds at the 2022 WSM. The 2023 ESM will likely be one of Felix’s first strongman competitions after the 2023 WSM, taking place April 19-23, which will be Felix’s final appearance at the sport’s tentpole contest.

From an initial glance, Smith and Felix may likely be considered the favorites to contend for the latest ESM title. That’s especially the case considering the relative newcomers in Bennett, Flowers, and Francis have never won a strongman contest, per Strongman Archives. However, in the case of a usually competitive strongman environment, anything can and possibly will happen. Not to mention the potential of roster additions like 2023 Britain’s Strongest Man (BSM) Adam Bishop down the line.

At this point in the competition’s timeline, with so much of the roster and events lineup still unclear, decisively ruling out a rise to the top of the English strength scene for anyone would likely be a foolish prospect.

A lot can happen between now and October. Smith and Felix might stand as the headliners for the time being, but plenty can be thrown into this enticing mix of English strongmen. The competitive drama is only bound to build.

Featured image: @officialstrongman_ on Instagram