Jumbo Tsuruta is dead
It was learned on May 16, that Japan's former star pro wrestler died in a hospital in the Philippines. He was 49. Jumbo Tsurata, who's real name is Tomomi Tsuruta was an Olympian in Munich. He went into pro wrestling that year. He won titles such as international heavy, UN heavy. In 1992, he was diagnosed with B-type hepatitis. He entered Tsukuba University in 1995. He left pro wrestling once but was back until he retired completely in Mar. 1999, and left Japan to take a teaching post in Oregon. His liver condition, however, grew very serious. While he was given an organ transplant surgery, he died from blood loss.
The greatest funeral
On Apr.17, a grand funeral was held for Giant Baba who died on Jan.31. Over 28,000 paid tribute to the pioneer of Japanese pro wrestling. At one point, there was a line of fans stretching 1 kilometer waiting to get into the Budokan where he had his final match on Dec. 5 before being hospitalized for his illness.
The greatest retirement ceremony
55-year old Antonio Inoki held a grand retirement match at the Tokyo Dome on Apr.4. 70,000 fans gathered from all over Japan. It's a record at the dome which is home to the most popular baseball team, Tokyo Giants. Inoki fought Don Fly (?) from the U.S. and defeated him in 4.09 minutes. Former pro boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali paid respect as a special guest. Inoki will from now on concentrate on promoting contact sports globally.
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