Nearly 4,000 people showed up to watch, at a venue with 3,000 seats. The packed crowd saw Byamba continued his amazing winning streak, by capturing the gold medal for the 7th year in a row, completely unprecedented! Byamba’s unforgettable “Sumo Slam” (which even shook the internet!) brought sumo awareness worldwide to a new level. Many of the huge crowd were standing room only, and some people that were turned away at the door (once the venue was over-sold) filled nearby rooftops and parking garages, as everyone scrambled to get a glimpse of the 104 sumo matches that took place in a three-hour period!
As usual, the US Sumo Open was dominated by foreigners. In fact, the lightweight medals were a Mongolian sweep, even though some Canadians did well, with one in the semi-finals. Among a dozen men’s medals, only three went to Americans — bronze medals in middleweight, heavyweight, and openweight. All gold and silver medals went to athletes from Mongolia, Russia, and Egypt, with athletes from Canada and Tonga also making the semi-final rounds.
By now, three-time World Sumo Champion “Byamba” is known worldwide for his incredible sumo skills and his on-camera charisma. In the 2013 US Sumo Open, he continued his amazing winning streak, by capturing the gold medal for the 7th year in a row, completely unprecedented! No one else has won gold more than 2 years in a row.
Byamba now holds 13 combined gold medals over 7 years at the US Sumo Open, in heavyweight and openweight categories, with a total, cumulative record of 68 wins and 1 loss!! He has now won nearly 50 matches in a row, without a single loss. Watch out for 2014 . . .
The VIRAL Match That Circled the Globe
One of Byamba’s matches in particular pitted him against 5-time US Sumo Champion Kelly Gneiting. These men have practiced and competed against each other hundreds of times, in events all over the world.
Within one week, various clips of this Byamba vs. Kelly match-up have been viewed by tens of millions of people worldwide, in dozens of foreign markets, on ESPN shows, Fox Sports programs, NBC Sports, and on websites, including USAToday’s and hundreds more. Collective youtube hits of Byamba vs. Kelly were in the millions in a matter of days!
Relative newcomer Liz Seward was 6-0 going into her final openweight match. She had already won the middleweight gold medal, but her last match pitted 175-pound Liz against 400-pound Sharran Alexander from the UK, who is recognized by Guinness World Records as the “Heaviest Sportswoman in the World”!
The much smaller Liz hit Sharran hard, straight on, and then rebounded to the side, grabbing Sharran’s belt, and taking down the female Goliath with a mighty right-arm throw. The crowd went nuts, as Liz took the sumo scene by storm. Earlier this year, Liz competed for the USA team in her first tournament ever, the World Games, where she became the first female American ever to win a match at that event!
Crowd (out of) Control
Actually, the crowd was great, enthusiastic, and cooperative. It was their reactions that were out of control, watching the dramatic wins by Byamba, Liz, and many others. With around 4,000 people showing up, it’s clear that the US Sumo Open will need to move back to bigger arenas, like some of those where it’s been held before.
We want to thank all the fans for their enthusiasm and support. You guys all rock, and the athletes were all thrilled to perform for such an energetic crowd!