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May 26, 2006

Summer Sumo Tournament Wrapup

The May Sumo tournament in Tokyo just concluded, and it may have seen the emergence of two of the stars of the future.

First, Yokozuna Asashoryu took a hard fall early on and had to drop out of the tournament with an elbow injury. (No word yet on whether he'll be healed in time for July's tournament.) This left the tournament wide open for anyone to win.

And that left brand new Ozeki Hakuho as the favorite. Living up to the new ranking, he proceeded to go 14-1 and then win the tournament in a tiebreaker. If Asashoryu doesn't make it back by July, look for Hakuho to be a strong favorite to win his 2nd in a row and gain a quick promotion to Yokozuna.
New Ozeki Hakuho won the Summer Sumo tournament

Hakuho's opponent in the tiebreaker was the man with the worst pec's in all of sports, Miyabiyama. He always hangs around with the top wrestlers, so it wasn't too surprising, but I don't look for him to do it again any time soon.

Baruto makes almost unfair use of his superhuman strength

The next biggest splash in the tournament was made by Estonian giant Baruto. After going 15-0 in the Juryo (Sumo's AAA minor league) last tournament, Baruto was promoted to the top level of Sumo. Despite being too young and having hair too short to make the traditional Sumo topknot, he was man enough to go 12-3 and stay in the race for the championship until the last couple days. Clearly too much for the low-ranked wrestlers, Baruto will be up in the top ranks before long. And not only does he have some skill, he seemed from interviews and candid shots to have a likable personality, too.

In other news, Tochiazuma choked again attempting to make Yokozuna and finally dropped out of the tournament with an injury, Chiyotaikai looked good but faded at the end, Kaio hung around for a little while, and Koto'oshu lost some more luster with an average tournament.

My personal favorites Kyokushuzan and Asasekiryu had great tournaments and everyone's favorite Takamisakari managed a winning record by winning on the last day, to stave off demotion to the minors.

Posted by JoshHornik at May 26, 2006 10:02 PM


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