Tickets Now Available for 19th Annual USA Sumo Open

USA Sumo - Konstantin Abdula-Zade vs Roy Sims
You don’t see many goatees in Ozumo

USA Sumo has announced that tickets are now available for the 19th Annual USA Sumo Open, which will be held on Saturday March 23, in Long Beach, CA.

The event, which coincides this year with the Haru honbasho in Osaka, consists of several weight categories (for both men and women), as well as a more traditional “Openweight” championship. This latter category is more in line with the type of competition of which most sumo enthusiasts will be familiar, with competitors of any size able to take the crown.

The event has been increasing in popularity, with NHK’s Hiro Morita having been dispatched to the States to cover the event last year for the Japanese broadcaster. Many sumo fans (and some Tachiai readers!) were able to meet one of the voices of Grand Sumo on that occasion – though it is unclear whether NHK will again have a presence, or how much of a presence they will have – given that the event falls in 2019 during one of the six main basho.

If you have not been able to make it to Japan for a tournament however, and have been looking for an opportunity to see live sumo – check out the tickets on offer at USA Sumo’s website. While the level of competition is obviously much different to the professional sumo that we cover here on the site, tickets start at a more affordable $25 (although ringside seats do approach the prices at Kokugikan).

The current men’s openweight champion is Russia’s Konstantin Abdula-Zade, and the reigning female openweight champion is the local favorite Mariah Holmes of California. USA Sumo has produced the following video of highlights from last year’s competition (although if I had to choose, I’d probably pick Abema TV’s choice of AK-69’s “Guess Who’s Back” as the better hype music):

14 thoughts on “Tickets Now Available for 19th Annual USA Sumo Open

  1. All the nope. This has zero of what makes real Sumo enjoyable. Ugh. My eyes after watching that. Bleh. Glad if other people like and enjoy but zero interest from me on anything but the good stuff.

    • The glass half full part of me wants to look at it as this being a potential good jumping on point for people who could be interested in sumo but don’t really know much about it. I don’t know that they do themselves a lot of favors with the video though which seems to target the WWE crowd a little more than the actual sumo crowd (it reminds me of when MLS first started in America in the 90s – before the league realised you don’t need to Americanise a great sport, just invest in it being a great sport in America). Maybe last year that’s what led to NHK having a presence at the event, so that people would realise they can watch higher quality, authentic, big time sumo for free on NHK World. But I know where you’re coming from.

      So from the positive point of view, if it leads to more people knowing the basics of sumo, maybe it’s a good thing. Hopefully next year I can check it out from as a spectator and report back.

      • I have no problem with it existing and am happy to have it thrive…what, I guess, irks me is that it’s hard to see a fundamentally different sumo being a pathway to real sumo…like you aren’t going to have people like “yay trash talk and huge shows of emotion and bouts every two minutes” suddenly glom on to a sport where emotion is discouraged, bouts are six minutes apart and every single interview is the polar opposite to like the WWE…so, if they want to be their own thing, fine, I guess…I am not interested…if they want to grow sumo then I think anyone watching this is even less likely to be interested in the good stuff.

        • Sorry to keep going with the MLS analogy – but your point kind of reminds me of, again back in the day, when MLS thought (someone correct me if they still do) that the way to get Americans interested in soccer was that you had to have cheerleaders like in the NFL. Made no sense to anyone who was a fan of the sport.

          • 100%…Japanese sumo is always going to be a niche sport…it just is…as soon as it’s WWE it’s not the same thing anymore…and both can exist…like I’ve said, I have no problem with it…but if this video is any indication, this isn’t the sport I love.

    • Same here. Who enjoys this should have every chance to participate, but it´s not my cup of tea.
      What i love of sumo isn´t just the mere seconds from the tachiai to the announcement of the kimarite (which of course are a big part of it), but also all of the elements around it, which comprehend heya life, strict rules of behaviour, yukata, chonmage, etc. Just like chanko nabe, if you eat one of the ingredients on its own, it might still taste good, but it´s not chanko nabe.

  2. I’m kind of like Josh here, I have conflicting feelings. We watched it on youtube last year in between bashos, and I both enjoyed it and hated it. Why I liked it:

    *It was in between bashos, and kind of a sumo fix. Sort of “If you can’t watch the sumo you love, tolerate the sumo you are with.”
    * It was interesting to see some very different body types competing, sometimes against each other. Some very lean, who did well.
    * They use a different dohyo and no one falls off. There are less injuries.
    * Women got a chance.
    *It went on for hours.

    On the other hand. I hated:

    *The glaring lack of dignity and respect.
    *The appalling behavior of some of the participants, especially two of the Egyptian team. Fist-pumping, jumping around, showing off, etc. Ugh.
    *No ceremonies.
    * Gyoji’s had silly outfits and looked like they should be selling ice cream in the lobby.

    That being said, we plan to watch it again, because we can and it’s at least kind of sumo.

  3. It clearly lacks anything that makes Sumo special. Like the poster above pointed out it lacks the dignity and respect that’s such an integral part of Sumo. In other words it’s “atrociously american”.

    • You´re right. Moreover we are commenting a trailer made by some editor who might have left out some stuff that appeals to us “traditionalists”. I actually do appreciate the amount of enthusiasm these guys put into a sport that is fringe over there.

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