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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Smiling Sumo

The banzuke are in for May!

For each Grand Sumo tournament (which happen every other month), new lists are published about two weeks prior to the first day of the tournament. I was really interested to see which rikishi would be ranked where this time. Why? Because there was a surprise retirement in March by the controversial yokozuna (Grand Champion) Asashoryu.

Now, another surprise! (Surprising to me.) The newest ozeki (Champion) is Baruto. Baruto Kaito. He's an Estonian, and his real name is Kaido Hoovelson. I love it that he chose the sumo name (shikona) Baruto. Sounds like Bart. Excellent.

Baruto is 25 years old and has been doing sumo since 2004, so he's been around a while. The JSA website lists his official weight as 187 kg, which translates into 411 pounds. Shazam, that's big. According to one source, as of 2010, that makes him the heaviest guy in sumo right now.

And he's tall. 198 centimeters. That's 78 inches tall. That's 6 feet 6 inches. He's enormous! Awesome. I only clock in at 5 foot 1, so that sounds like a towering mountain of a man. I once heard an American commentator watching a sumo match live gush about just how huge the wrestlers really are. No kidding!

The rankings came in on the 26th, and he was promoted to champion after an impressive 14-1 win-loss record in the March basho (tournament) in Osaka. Each basho lasts 15 days, and the top division rikishi wrestle once each day. Since he is in the top tier, that means he only wrestled other top wrestlers, regardless of their weight. To go 14-1 means a lot at that level.

When he won, he said he wanted to be a "cheerful" champion. Reportedly he is liked by the other wrestlers because he is always smiling.

Props to the smiling sumo! Way to go, Baruto!

1 comment:

  1. "Shazam". That is funny. The smiling sumo post makes me smile too.