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Friday, April 21, 2006
Judging from how well-run their World Sumo Challenge event was this past October in Madison Square Garden, this new league has the potential to establish itself quickly as one of the major leagues in the world of combat sports.
Coverage of that October sumo event was featured on a special preview show of "No Holds Barred" in December. Interviewed about that event were former yokozuna Musashimaru, boxing trainer Tommy Gallagher, New York City Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba, Big Boy Productions CEO Noah Goldman, sumo and judo coach Yoshisada Yonezuka, and sumo wrestlers Ronny Allman and Sydney Carty, as well as judo legends Teimoc Jonston-Ono and Mike Swain, and muay Thai fighters Brian Robertson and Willow Chanthavong, about the Mayhem on Mulberry Muay Thai event also held in October 2005 in New York.
You can still listen for free to that show by clicking here.
The World Sumo League also has a new web site, at http://www.ultimatesumo.com/ .
Below is the press release about the World Sumo League’s world tour. (FYI, Noah Goldman, President and CEO of Big Boy Productions, which is putting on these events, is no known relation to me.)
WORLD SUMO LEAGUE ANNOUNCES 2006 MEGA TOUR OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, THE UK AND EUROPE
New York, NY -- Building on the success of its first World S.U.M.O. Challenge at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 22, 2005, the New York-based sports and entertainment production company Big Boy Productions, LLC. has formed the World Sumo League (WSL), a worldwide sports organization that will promote professional Sumo matches at first-class venues in countries all over the world. The WSL will launch this spring with a 2006 Mega Tour that will bring champion Sumo wrestlers to over 60 professional Sumo events and competitions in cities worldwide, including London, Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, Las Vegas, Santiago, Sydney, Auckland, Buenos Aires, Detroit, Oakland, CA, and New York.
The WSL Mega Tour will feature many of the world’s best Sumo wrestlers from countries including Japan, Mongolia, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, the United States, Great Britain, Republic of Georgia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Hungary and Norway. The Sumo wrestlers will be competing for total prize money of over $1,000,000! The ultimate winner has a chance to be crowned the World Sumo League Champion at the Finals on Saturday, October 21, 2006, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Each tour stop will feature round-robin matches with 24 Sumo wrestlers. The WSL will have a Grand Prix Bonus System with points awarded to each of the Sumo wrestlers who win a match in competition. As a Sumo wrestler advances in each round of an evening’s competition, there will be additional bonus points awarded. For example, one (1) point will be awarded for the opening match won; then two (2) additional points for the second match won; five (5) additional points for winning the quarter-final match, ten (10) additional points for winning the semi-final match; and twenty (20) additional points for winning the evening’s competition. The top 24 ranked Sumo wrestlers based on their point standings will be seeded into the season ending WSL Championships at Madison Square Garden on October 21, 2006.
The 2006 WSL Mega Tour will begin with matches at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT, on Friday, May 19, and the Mid Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Saturday, May 20. The tour will continue with engagements at The Palace at Auburn Hills, MI, on Friday, May 26; Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL, on Saturday, May 27; Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, June 3; Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ, on Friday, June 9; Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, June 16; and Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA, on Saturday, June 17. (Other U.S. tour dates in May and June are awaiting confirmation.)
Following the North American leg, the WSL World Mega Tour will resume in August in Australia and New Zealand; early September in South America; mid to late September in Ireland and the United Kingdom; and conclude late September – mid-October in Europe. The top 24 point-earners on the World Mega Tour will be invited to compete for the 2006 WSL World Championship title at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 21, 2006.
Tour matches will be taped for television in the US and abroad. Big Boy Productions has an agreement with NBD Television Ltd. in London, England, to distribute the programs worldwide. NBD TV has already sold two 90-minute specials and 26 hour specials from the WSL Mega Tour to Flextech in the UK which will broadcast the series in the summer on its Challenge Channel.
Big Boy Productions, LLC is a New York-based sports and entertainment company that is dedicated to developing world-class Sumo wrestling in the United States and around the globe as a professional sport, and to present professional Sumo competitions in first-class venues worldwide. The company’s chief officers are Noah Goldman, President and CEO, and Jeffrey Daniels, Chairman and COO/Corporate Counsel.
“Sumo has been the fastest growing sport in countries worldwide over the past decade,” said Mr. Goldman. “World-class International sumo is a global phenomenon and there are professional Sumo organizations in more than 80 countries. Because of this growing international appeal, the sport may be added to the Olympics, possibly as early as the 2012 Summer Games.”
“Big Boy is proud to introduce professional Sumo wrestling to audiences all over the world,” said Mr. Daniels. “Sumo wrestlers are amazing athletes who combine power, speed and agility steeped in ancient tradition and spirituality. Big Boy is committed to keeping all the tradition and excitement of the sport alive and creates a recognizable brand which will further enhance the popularity of Sumo worldwide.”
Sumo wrestling is one of the oldest forms of martial arts and Japan’s national sport. The most notable feature of the sport is the size of the athletes, ranging from 200 to 600 pounds. Sumo opponents battle barefoot and wear a mawashi, a traditional loin cover. The object is to throw your opponent outside an 18-foot ring, called a dohyo, or knock him to the ground. Wrestlers use many moves, including the oshi-dashi, or push, to drive an opponent backward, and the tzuki-dashi, or slap, to upset an opponent’s balance.
A typical Sumo match lasts less than one-minute; if a bout goes as long as three-minutes, there is a short pause after which the combatants go at each other again. In addition to fierce aggression, Sumo is a sport with solemn traditions, including a pre-fight ritual where opponents squat facing each other and open their hands to show they have no weapons.
The WSL is dedicated to presenting Sumo wrestling all over the globe as a first-class professional sport. The WSL Mega Tour competitions are spectacular events presented in dramatic fashion. Although the event contains all the spirituality and mystique inherent in traditional Sumo wrestling, it is punctuated by special effects as well as live music provided by Taikoza, a thunderous percussion group that features taiko drums – large barrel-like drums that produce a magnificent sound -- creating a visual and audio treat for spectators.
The WSL Mega Tour will be produced and directed by Ted Kurdyla who has amassed a varied list of credits in film, television, cable and live entertainment throughout his producing career. He has produced and directed live entertainment productions in major venues across the U.S.A., including the World Sumo Challenge at Madison Square Garden in October 2005
The WSL Mega Tour television series and specials will be produced by Ron Honsa, President and Executive Producer of Moving Pictures, the New York-based award-winning creative production company for original programming and a post production leader in nonlinear editing. His company produced the television production of World Sumo Challenge in New York in October 2005, which was subsequently broadcast on numerous occasions on the ESPN Television Network in late 2005 and early 2006.
Big Boy Productions has also established working partnerships with world class leaders in their individual fields to maximize the revenue streams to WSL. They include:
Abrams Gentile Entertainment, Inc (AGE, Inc.), a full service entertainment company which develops, creates, and produces youth consumer products and family brand entertainment, is in charge of licensing the Ultimate S.U.M.O. brand. Founded in 1986, AGE has created and developed many best-selling products and programs including the Power Glove, Sky Dancers®, Dragon Flyz® Kinder-Garden Babies®, Bucky O™Hare, and Shining Stars. AGE has also created and produced over 150 half hours of award-winning children's television and family programming as well as the prime time comedy Diresta for Disney, The Rumsfords for PAX and The Magnificent Ambersons and NY At The Movies for the A&E Network.
Anthill Trading, a New York based global merchandising company that represents some of the most prestigious icons and trademarked properties in music, entertainment, and lifestyle, is in charge of merchandising for the WSL Mega Tour. Its exceptional roster of bands bridges the rock ‘n roll landscape with AC/DC, Blondie, Breaking Benjamin, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Gavin DeGraw, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, Sting, and Velvet Revolver. Acclaimed for creative innovations and expertise in music apparel, accessories, collectibles and specialty items, Anthill’s commitment extends brand positioning internationally.
UltraStar Entertainment, LLC, which specializes in providing marketing and content services to major entertainment clients and their fans through community-based subscription clubs delivered over the web, has been engaged to create and maintain WSL’s dynamic new website, www.ultimatesumo.com. Clients include David Bowie, Sting, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Rolling Stones. UltraStar infuses each of its online properties with a unique blend of marketing, technology and management expertise. Stars and fans interact in new ways everyday through UltraStar’s communities.
The WSL Mega Tour is being booked worldwide by The Agency Group Ltd., the leading tour booking agency in the world, with offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Scandinavia. The Agency represents a wide variety of artists in all genres of music. Clients include David Gilmour, Nickel back, Alice Cooper, Art Arundel, Foo Fighters, Jurassic 5, Lanyard Skinnier, Method Man, Pink Floyd, Reel Big Fish and The Starting Line.
NBD Television, a leading music specialist in the world TV and DVD rights market, represents the worldwide TV sales of the WSL Mega Tour. NBD has a diverse catalogue including Sports Entertainment, Film and arts documentaries as well as various film categories offering a large selection of classic movies.
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