A sumo seven league of nations will descend on Turning Stone Resort and Casino for a round-robin All-Star sumo wrestling event on Saturday, July 19. Contestants from Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Poland, New Zealand, Egypt and the U.S. will compete to win an All-Star title.
Sumo wrestling, a sport in which a man wins by pushing his opponent out of the ring or knocking him to the ground, originated in Japan. It was introduced to imperial ceremonies in the eighth century. According to PBS.org, a colorful Japanese legend points to a Sumo match between two gods as responsible for the creation of the Japanese islands.
There will be 45 matches at the event at Turning Stone. Andrew Freund — the founder of USA Sumo, the sponsor of the event — said Byamba may be the favorite. Byamba is a four-time world sumo champion, has won the U.S. Sumo Open seven times and has 68 wins and one loss on his record.
But the whole list of contestants reads like a list for Guinness World Records. For example, the largest man to ever complete a marathon is Kelly Gneiting (who has an entry in Guinness for his achievement); the heaviest Japanese man in history, Yama, has a 6-foot-4 frame that carries 600 pounds of flesh.
In addition to the rare opportunity to see some of the world’s largest competitors, viewers should prepare themselves for a truly athletic event.
“There is a great misconception about what sumo is about,” said Freund.
New spectators are often shocked by the athleticism on display, which Freund says is “better than Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
Sumo events have started to become popular in urban areas such as Houston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Freund pointed to a very successful formal sumo gala that Houston has hosted for the last few years.
“A black tie gala, $25,000 a table,” he said.
Tickets for All-Star Sumo can be purchased by visiting the Turning Stone box office, calling 315-361-7469 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are priced between $19 and $37. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the first match is planned for 7:30 p.m.