The Next Lasha Talakhadze
Lasha is a super heavyweight who has done some crazy lifts. is. If you haven't seen his Instagram IG or YouTube, stop reading this, and go look at that. He has snatched 223 kilos in competition. He has clean and jerked 265 kilos. He has totaled 488 kilos in competition. He has 2 Olympic gold medals. He has won worlds four or five times and is easily the greatest super heavyweight of all time. He is Georgian and has the best technique ever. He is coached by Georgie Azanij. That’s a quick run-down of who Lasha is.
He has also been popped for PED use. He got caught using drugs when he was 19. Some people might get mad about me throwing that out there, but he did get popped when he was a young weightlifter. He is now 28 years old.
In 2016 Lasha clean and jerked 258 kilos at the Olympics. I believe that number is a pretty significant number for the individual that I believe will be the next Lasha. Who can beat Lasha, the harrowing Georgian with the perfect technique, perfect body type at 6’6” 170+ kilos, and great technical movement? Lasha is surrounded by a great coach and great support system, and he is an incredibly successful athlete! And for that matter, maybe the greatest of super heavyweight all time.
But let’s discuss who can be and will be the next Lasha.
The Next Lasha Is…
Enzo Kofi Kuworge is a Dutch lifter. His mother is Dutch and his father is from Ghana. I was fortunate enough to see Enzo warm up this past year at Junior Worlds. Me being a die-hard weightlifting fan, I saw he was in the top 3 in the 2018 super heavyweight class in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Thanks to Covid, I kind of forgot about him. Fast forward to Tashkent in 2021 (I was there with Anna McElderry) for Junior Worlds and I noticed this absolute monster moving really, really well over to my right. And it clicked with me that it was Enzo, the kid from the Netherlands.
The Dutch are notorious in the world of strength and conditioning regarding research. People like Frans Bosch as a prime example, and someone like Dafne Schippers, an excellent sprinter. The Dutch also have really good coaches. Their sprint skating is notoriously powerful and their sprint cycling is extremely successful. There is a lot of research coming out of a very small country. But they have typically had never really had a good weightlifter. The last person to compete happened over 50 years ago. Then came Enzo.
Enzo has taken time to rise up. As an individual, he started lifting weights and being a weightlifter since he was 8 years old. Enzo has been with the exact same coach since he started lifting weights. His coach’s name is Pierre. As Enzo has developed, he has slowly grown into his body. Now he is 6’6” and just turned 20 years old at the end of August right after competing at his first Olympics.
Let’s now go into looking at some of his really impressive movements before projecting what he is capable of, as well as comparing him to Lasha at this age and discussing if Enzo is capable of striving towards the level of Lasha.
At European Juniors, Enzo power cleaned and jerked 210 kilos. This is a big lift that shows a lot of future premonition. It was almost like a stiff-legged power clean he caught it so high.
Weightlifting coaches can start to see as their lifters age (Enzo is still young) and get more proficient in their movement, we see the better athletes get in their technique the more that power clean comes around 82-85% of their best full clean. I did some math with the 210 power clean, which puts Enzo’s full clean right around 256 kilos. Is Enzo capable of that as a full clean right now? No. However, based on his technique and training age, he will be.
Another trick weightlifting coaches use is the idea of getting close to your power clean with your best snatch. In the United States, a 20-year-old is a sophomore, maybe a junior in college. Picture an offensive lineman power cleaning 462 lbs. That doesn’t happen. If Enzo was in the USA he probably would be playing left tackle.
With this 210 power clean, we can see what he is capable of. We haven’t even gone into the weights he has actually hit on the stage at the Olympics and Junior World Championships. This power clean, I believe, is more a premonition of where Enzo can potentially be in 2024 and beyond. Meaning, a 205 to 210-kilo snatch with a clean and jerk at 245-250+ kilos by 2024. That is a 450+ total, making him top 2, top 3 in the world at twenty-four years of age.
There are training videos of Enzo snatching 170, 175, and 180 kilos from high boxes. Enzo moves similar to Lasha. Enzo has super long tibias, stays patient off the floor, and the bar travels really well around his knees.
Enzo has snatched 180 kilos in the Junior World competition back in Tashkent in May 2021. He is probably going back to the Senior World Championships in the same locale and might snatch upwards of 185 kilos. This is where we will see him push even further, having already gotten 6th at the Olympics.
I believe he will push further. As his technique keeps improving, his snatch will take off. In addition, as he continues to gain weight as he ages (he is only 150 kilos right now) and weighs in excess of 160 or 170 kilos he might clean 250+ kilos and smack that jerk as well.
More Video Evidence
Watching the videos he murders the kilos. He moves so well. The technique has been ingrained from a very young age. In the videos from when he was younger, he has always been bigger, but not thick and husky. Now he is starting to get thick and husky and packing on the grown adult musculature.
He has clean and jerked 231 kilos in competition. Analyzing this specific lift technically, he pulls with great knees, getting pretty vertical shins. The knees stay back a little long on the clean, but he is super powerful and has time to clean up his technique. And just as a reminder, we have yet to discuss his best clean and jerk right now.
Misses A 233 Kilo Clean
At the Tokyo Olympics, Enzo missed a 233 clean and jerk. He bumps up to 234 kilos, comes back out on the platform, cleans it, and smacks the jerk. Enzo has a 234 kilo clean and jerk as a teenager and did it on the biggest stage after missing! This tells us how great he competes.
He ended up with a 409 kilo total at the Tokyo Olympics. So fast-forwarding three years from now, when he might be 10 to 15 kilos heavier at 22 to 23 years old, his technique is refining, and his power clean at 210 kilos, in theory, could become his snatch and a 256 clean and jerk.
That potential total is where I’m looking at the Lasha comparison with Enzo. In 2016, Lasha clean and jerked 258 kilos. In 2016 Lasha snatched around 210; it wasn’t until 2017 that Lasha really blew up and hit 217 to 220. Enzo in on the trajectory to make things happen.
In addition, Enzo has a really good base with Dutch sports science research. Enzo’s mother is jacked. On top of that, Enzo performs well at big meets. Enzo also has good technique leading me to believe he will be the next Lasha. Now I’m not sure Enzo can beat Lasha in 2024, but we have to remember Lasha will be 31 years old in Paris, France. That is a lot of years on the body of a super. Still, Enzo will be pushing for that title.
In the meantime, Enzo can work on that front rack in the clean so he isn’t so forward.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.