While yesterday may have been another chilly San Francisco Sunday, it didn't stop four sumo wrestling champions from disrobing down to their mawashis and providing free exhibition matches to eager spectators.
The fifth annual Sumo Champions Exhibition, sponsored by the Japan Center Malls and the Japanese Merchants Association, was held this past weekend in the Japantown Peace Plaza. In case you missed the exhibition, we’ve got a photo recap of what went down.
Before the wrestlers were introduced, students from GenRyu Arts performed.
Andrew Freund, founder of USA Sumo and the event’s master of ceremonies, introduces the four wrestlers, attired in robes.
Takeshi, who hails from Japan, is 5’7”, weighs 220 lbs, and is a Japanese university champion.
Byamba, from Mongolia, is 6’1”, weighs 340 lbs, and is a four-time world sumo champion.
Roy, from the United States, is 6’5”, weighs 380 lbs, and is a two-time U.S. sumo champion.
Yama, from Japan, is 6’4”, weighs 600 lbs, and is a two-time world sumo champion. He's also the heaviest Japanese person in recorded history.
After disrobing, the four wrestlers warm up with shiko, an exercise where each leg is raised as high and straight as possible, then brought down to stomp the ground. In training, this is typically repeated over a hundred times in a row.
Before the matches begin, Byamba and Yama demonstrate illegal moves. These include punching, grabbing hair and poking the eyes (shown above).
The exhibition matches begin. Whoever leaves the ring or falls to the ground first loses. Roy and Yama lunge for each other.
Roy uses tsuridashi to lift Yama by his mawashi out of the ring.
Byamba and Yama try to get beneath each other.
Yama manages to get Byamba off balance and out of the ring.
Byamba and Takeshi are locked in an embrace.
Takeshi throws Byamba to win the match.
Andrew takes questions from the audience between matches.
Takeshi and Roy prepare for a match.
Roy stands victorious as he pushes Takeshi out of the ring.
Byamba and Roy get ready for their match.
Roy pushes an off-balance Byamba out of the ring to win the match.
Takeshi, dwarfed in size by Yama, struggles against him.
Takeshi manages to throw Yama out of the ring.
Takeshi raises a fist in victory as the crowd cheers behind him.
After the exhibition matches, the sumo wrestlers have some fun by playing with young volunteers.
Yama has some fun with this volunteer.
Takeshi adds a bit of theatrics to his performance. Will he stay in the ring?
Freund thanks the wrestlers for a great show.
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