2023 US SUMO OPEN OVERVIEW

A New Dynasty?
Most US Sumo Open fans remember the Byamba Era (2007 – 2019). Byamba competed in the tournament for 13 consecutive years, winning 110 matches, and losing only 7 times. In the process, he won the Heavyweight title 10 times, and the Openweight title 7 times. This level of success is almost unimaginable, but there are signs that a new hero is emerging . . .

Mendee has only competed in the US Sumo Open for 2 years (2022 – 2023), but he’s undefeated (27-0) so far! He won both the Heavyweight and Openweight gold medals in 2022 (14-0), and he did it again in 2023 (13-0).

There are only three US Sumo Open competitors who have won back-to-back Heavyweight & Openweight gold medals, in consecutive years, with ZERO losses, and all three of these are former World Sumo Champions. Kato from Japan did it in 2005-2006 (22-0 in 2 years). Byamba did it in 2009-2013 (48-0 in 5 years). Now, Mendee is 27-0 in just 2 years. Can he approach Byamba’s legacy?

Foreign Gold Medals
As usual, foreigners got all the medals in divisions that they competed in – Edobor from Hungary (lightweight), Usukhbayar from Mongolia (middleweight), Fathy from Egypt (light heavyweight), plus Mendee from Mongolia (both heavyweight and openweight). The women’s gold medals went to Enkhzaya (heavyweight) and Munkhtsetseg (openweight) – both from Mongolia. There were also strong showings with medals from Maxim (Russia), Takeshi (Japan), and Abdelrahman (Egypt).

Silver Streak!
The biggest American standout was Eric. He made it to the finals in both the light heavyweight and openweight divisions, losing to Egyptian Fathy and the indomitable Mendee, respectively, in those matches. It’s been rare for Americans to get even one medal, not to mention two, in a single US Sumo Open. En route to the openweight finals, Mendee defeated many-time World Champion medalist Usukhbayar (Mongolia) in the semi-finals, a remarkable feat! Other great U.S. medal performances were from Gabe (silver) and Joe (bronze) in the lightweight, plus Danny (bronze) in light heavyweight, and Mark (silver) in heavyweight! The U.S., despite no gold, did better than usual!

Sumo Fans Pump Up the Arena!
Attendance was the highest ever, as over 4,000 sumo fans cheered all afternoon for their favorites. All Floor seating and the Lower Bleacher section were sold out, with only a few seats remaining in the Upper Bleachers. The level of excitement and fan support is really encouraging, and it’s gratifying to see long-term growth now, for 23 years of producing the US Sumo Open! Thank you to all fans, supporters and sponsors for your enthusiasm!

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