Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 22 News List

Musashimaru leaves mark in sumo

AP , TOKYO

Stable master Musashigawa, right, cuts the topknot of former grand champion Musashimaru, center, while head sumo referee Inosuke Shikimori looks on during a ceremony in Tokyo, yesterday. The Hawaiian-born wrestler retired from Japanese professional sumo wrestling November 2003.

PHOTO: AFP

Former sumo grand champion Musashimaru was honored in a retirement ceremony yesterday at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Musashimaru had his top knot cut off by fellow wrestlers and friends in a traditional ceremony at the famed sumo arena.

Tears rolled down Musashimaru's face as the final cut was made by his stablemaster Musashigawa. Asashoryu, the sport's only current grand champion, also took part in the ceremony along with former rival Konishiki.

Born Fiamalu Penitani, Musashimaru joined sumo as a new wrestler at the age of 18 after growing up in Hawaii.

The Samoan-born yokozuna won 12 Emperor's Cups over his illustrious career and was the most successful foreign wrestler in Japan's ancient sport.

Along with Konishiki and fellow grand champion Akebono, Musashimaru was part of a Hawaiian wave that dominated sumo in the 1990's.

The title of yokozuna is considered a mark of honor. Musashimaru attained the yokozuna rank after the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in 1999. His 12 titles are sixth-best on the all-time list.

After breaking into sumo in 1991, Musashimaru made steady progress in moving up the ranks and was promoted to the second highest rank of ozeki in 1994.

The 237kg Musashimaru dominated opponents with a thrusting style and a right-handed belt grip that he used to perfection.

Among his achievements was a string of 55 consecutive tournaments with eight or more wins. His last Emperor's Cup was at the 2002 Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

This story has been viewed 3500 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top