LAS VEGAS — Ozeki Tochiazuma beat yokozuna Asashoryu in the final to win the first-day tournament of sumo's exhibition tour of Las Vegas on Friday.Warms my heart to hear it. I hope Asa loses a bit at the casinos, too. He can well afford it.
Thirty-eight wrestlers in the top-tier makuuchi division took part in the competition, which will be followed by similar one-day mini tournaments for two more days during the tour. The spectators Friday were entertained by humorous introductions of each wrestler and explanations of techniques by Hawaiian-born former ozeki Konishiki in the opening ceremony and between bouts.
The Las Vegas Sun reports:
Tourists gawked as the athletes drank, smoked, played slots and held court at the Baccarat tables.BTW, here's a thorough analysis of September's Aki Basho that trashes Bulgarian upstart Kotooshu's actual performance during his bouts.
The buffet at Mandalay Bay, the hotel-casino hosting the event, added 2,500 pieces of sushi, pickled daikon and miso soup to its spread, just feet away from a steaming heap of mashed potatoes.
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The Bulgarian's 12-0 start was highly inflated. There's no denying that Kotooshu is extremely athletic, agile, skilled, and well-rounded in his technique. There's no denying Kotooshu's future in this sport. And, there's no denying that Kotooshu's sumo this basho sucked. I'm not talking about his magical escapes at the tawara because he did snatch victory from the jaws of defeat numerous times. I'm talking about his approach to the bouts and his execution. We were onto this early on in the basho. Not a single word of praise over the first three days, and then on day four this statement: "if he keeps this up and manages a 12-3 record, the Association will hesitate to consider Kotooshu's promotion to Ozeki because his sumo content this basho is so poor." Sex symbol Makiko Uchidate of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council also wasn't fooled. She had nothing positive to say about the Sekiwake after the basho, and she also publicly stated that she doesn't think he will secure promotion to Ozeki in Kyushu. It wasn't all bad. After being called out by Asashoryu mid-week, Kotooshu did finally win a bout moving forward against Kyokushuzan on day 8. He followed that up with an excellent win against Iwakiyama on day 9, and he thoroughly dominated both Ozeki (Tochiazuma on day 11 and Chiyotaikai on senshuraku). But that's it; only four solid bouts. Other than that it was bad sumo.