(March 10 to 24, Osaka)

The heaviest sumo wrestler this tournament is not too difficult to guess. He's the Hawaiian born Konishiki. According to the official record, he's tipped the scale at 284 kilograms. Cheers directed toward him is astonishing this tournament, as it has been in the past tournaments due not only to his charisma. Japanese fans enjoy his "never give up" spirit" since he's falled from the second highest ranking of ozeki or champion. He finished with 6 wins and 9 losses, unfortunately. Standing maegashira number 9 this time, it means he will be demoted a couple of ranks.

Japanese fans have cheered on with sympathy another former ozeki this tournament. He's Kirishima. He was also ozeki, and known as "Hercules" when he was at his prime. However, he was demoted from the rank late in 1992, having failed to gain a majority win out of 15 bouts due to a leg injury. His record at maegashira number 14 (bottom rank in the highest division in sumo) was 3 wins 12 losses this time. The day he completed his last bout of the tournament, Kirishima announced his retirement. At age 36, the oldest active sumo wrestler today said in tears, he was totally burned out. His final bout was quite a sad scene. He was easily carried out of the ring by a juryo wrestler (ranked one division below).

Now, here's more about the competitive side of this tournament. Performance wise, the tournament took off with high expectation on the winner of the previous grand tournament, Takanonami. Since he is already ozeki, a victory this time was believed to give him a chance to be promoted to the very prestigious post of yokozuna or grand champion. He lost against Tosanoumi on the third day, and against Musohyama on the 9th day. Still he was left with the possibility to go for another victory--until the 14th day. Takanonami faced another ozeki Musashimaru. Musashimaru fell on his right hand. At almost the same time, Takanonami stepped out of the ring. The judges declared, a rematch. However, videotape showed Takanonami actually defeated his rival first. This loss hurt Takanonmi's chance for a victory and promotion deeply. The same day, yokozuna Takanohana won the bout giving himself 13 wins to a loss determining his 12th tournament victory. So the tournament ended with no surprise.

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