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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

WAAR Room with DJ Tribal and Eddie Goldman: Why Sumo?, on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

 


The complete audio from the April 25, 2021, edition of the WAAR Room on Angry Afro Radio, with DJ Tribal AKA Chris Baldwin and Eddie Goldman is now up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page.

We discussed the potential for sumo to gain worldwide popularity as a form of real professional wrestling, the sport's strengths and weaknesses compared to other styles of wrestling, some of sumo's history in the U.S. including the roles of Manny Yarbrough and Kevin Carter, and more.

A subscription is required to listen to the complete episode of this show, so subscribe today to support independent journalism on the No Holds Barred Patreon page.

Thanks to Angry Afro Radio.

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

No Holds Barred: Kevin Carter on the Rise and Decline and Rise of Sumo in America (Part Two) 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with sumotori, judoka, writer, and intellectual Kevin Carter. This is the second part of a two-part interview.

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday, April 14.

In the 1990s, sumo in Japan began to reach a wider international audience, including in the U.S., with the emergence of several stars who were not Japanese.

"You had Akebono, Musashimaru, Konishiki," Kevin Carter recalled.

Konishiki, an American born in Hawaii, was the first non-Japanese-born wrestler to reach ozeki, the second-highest rank in sumo. Many believed that he would have been promoted to yokozuna, the highest rank, had he been Japanese.

In 1993, Akebono, also an American born in Hawaii, became the first non-Japanese-born wrestler and the first American to be promoted to yokozuna.

Musashimaru, born in American Samoa and who grew up in Hawaii, became in 1999 the second foreign-born wrestler to be promoted to yokozuna.

"And then you had a few other Hawaiians who were in juryo, which is the second top professional division. So these guys were also in the top 50. You had those three top guys, and you had maybe three, four, or five guys who were one step below. And they were all thriving. The Hawaiians were really thriving. The Americans were really thriving," he said.

But that success, though increasing sumo's worldwide appeal, did not sit well with many who ran the Japan Sumo Association, which governs the sport in Japan. The result was a blanket decision which reverberates today.

"And then they banned all foreigners from coming in."

With that, sumo's popularity, and where it was practiced outside Japan, radically changed.

"When that happened, that basically put the kibosh on Hawaii. There was nothing for the Hawaiians to aspire to anymore. They really, they were basically told, 'We're not taking any of you for any reason.'

"There was like a ten-year period where very few foreigners were coming in. They let a few guys in from Mongolia. They let a few guys in from China. But they had cut off other parts of Europe for a little while."

And for some, this discrimination persists.

"They still have an unspoken ban on Hawaiians, just like they have an unspoken ban on Africans and other Black people," he noted.

At the same time, his own active participation in sumo competition was coming to an end. His last match was in 2002, but he still kept up with the sport.

In 2005, it appeared that sumo would take a major step forward as an international sport with the emergence of the World Sumo Challenge. Their inaugural event was held October 22, 2005, at Madison Square Garden, and was shown on tape delay on ESPN2 that December. This was a professional event featuring top sumo wrestlers from around the world, planned to lead to a worldwide tour the following year.

Some of the same people who organized the 1998 "Night of the Giants" sumo event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, were also involved in the World Sumo Challenge. One of them was Kevin Carter's old sumo coach, Yoshisada Yonezuka, who ran the Cranford Judo Karate Center in Cranford, New Jersey, and who also had trained Manny Yarbrough, who also was retired from sumo by this time.

It would have seemed logical for the organizers of the World Sumo Challenge to have brought in Kevin Carter, with his experience and record in many areas of sumo. He also lived reasonably close to New York City. But, surprisingly to him, the call never came.

With that snub, it was the end of the line for him in sumo. He said his attitude then was, "Fuck sumo."

While the World Sumo Challenge drew some 8000 mainly enthusiastic fans to Madison Square Garden, their 2006 tour was a bust. Now called the World Sumo League, they had no TV deal, fan attendance in the arenas was quite low, and the tour was abandoned midway, never to be resumed.

All these blunders drove one of its most serious devotees, Kevin Carter, from the sport. He no longer even followed it closely or watched sumo events.

The appeal of the sport, though, and his love of sumo, were still lingering. In more recent years he has done some refereeing and judging, and was asked to be a referee at the 2020 U.S. National Sumo Championships, organized by the U.S. Sumo Federation. He wanted to do this, but was only unable to do so because of job commitments. In the meantime, he also became a black belt in judo.

As we have noted many times, there has been a marked and recent revival of sumo in the U.S. New clubs have been formed and new tournaments have been held, a growth impeded mainly by the coronavirus pandemic. With mass vaccinations going on in the U.S, expect sumo to thrive even more, and, unlike in Japan, among a very diverse cross-section of people.

And while just what Kevin Carter will do in sumo today is not clear, he wants to, and certainly should, return to playing an important role in the sport.

"I really would enjoy seeing that revival and being part of that revival," he stressed.

So this story of Kevin Carter and his love of sumo is not yet over. There hopefully will be some more fond chapters to come, because, as the late Teddy Pendergrass sang: 
 "So good, so good, so good, 
 "When somebody loves you back."

Please also subscribe to the No Holds Barred page on Patreon for much more No Holds Barred content.

You can play or download No Holds Barred on Podomatic and the Internet Archive. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps:
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The Podomatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Fight Shop, home of the Skullz Double-End Bag, the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Fight Shop - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://skullzfightshop.com.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

"As Crises Mount, IOC Says To Athletes: STFU", on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

 

Another blockbuster piece is up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page: "As Crises Mount, IOC Says To Athletes: STFU". A subscription is required to read it, so subscribe today to read it and the exclusive No Holds Barred content on this page.

The article is at https://www.patreon.com/posts/as-crises-mount-50343541.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

WAAR Room on Triller Sideshow, Racism in Sports, Tokyo Olympics, Sumo Revival, on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 


The complete audio from the April 18, 2021, edition of the WAAR Room on Angry Afro Radio, with DJ Tribal AKA Chris Baldwin and Eddie Goldman is now up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page. 

We discussed the Triller Fight Club sideshow farce, how boxing's marginalization has opened the door for such spectacles, the continuing battle against racism and white supremacy in sports, the prospects for cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics, the revival of sumo in the U.S., and more.

A subscription is required to listen to this complete episode of the show, so subscribe today for this and more exclusive No Holds Barred content on the No Holds Barred Patreon page.

An edited video of this show will also be posted soon on Angry Afro Radio.


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Sunday, April 18, 2021

No Holds Barred: Kevin Carter on the Rise and Decline and Rise of Sumo in America (Part One) 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with sumotori, judoka, writer, and intellectual Kevin Carter. This is the first of a two-part interview.

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday, April 14.

For Kevin Carter, sumo has been a lifelong passion. While growing up, "I would come home after school, and the only thing I really watched on TV was sports," he said. "I watched a lot of baseball, football, basketball. I also played hockey, too. But I was watching every Saturday that I could, and very occasionally they'd put on sumo.

"I immediately fell in love with sumo. It was like, 'this is great, man!' These are guys who are obviously athletes."

This was in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and many of the greats of Japanese sumo at that time were sometimes featured on the sports highlight shows of that era.

"I just totally fell in love with sumo."

He still had not competed in sumo, though. When he was at Harvard, he played football. He had developed an affinity for Japanese culture by the time he began a career in journalism, covering sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Later he began writing about culture, music, and arts for that newspaper.

One day while watching Philadelphia's channel 10 (WCAU-TV, which was a CBS station at that time), he saw a feature on a huge African-American wrestler named Manny Yarbrough. He immediately resolved to do a story on him. That led him to interviewing both Manny Yarbrough and his judo and sumo coach, Yoshisada Yonezuka, who ran the Cranford Judo Karate Center in Cranford, New Jersey.

It proved to be a life-changing moment. "I want to do this, too," he said, and so he did, in both sumo and judo.

Among the sumo events in which he competed, he recalled, was a special U.S. vs. Canada tournament in 1993 in Hamilton, Ontario. He finished with a record of 9-6 and won a technique prize.

He continued training with Manny Yarbrough, who was having greater success than him. In 1992, the first amateur sumo world championships were held. Manny Yarbrough won a silver medal that year in the open weight division, the first of five world medals he would win. In 1995, Manny Yarbrough won a gold medal at the amateur sumo world championships, still the only American to win a world championship at this event.

Many members of the U.S. team at that time were Hawaiian. Kevin Carter described that period as a "dynasty of Hawaiians in amateur sumo." Sumo had become popular in Hawaii at least as early as the 1960s, and was a school sport there as well. In 1995 and 1996, he did his graduate work in Asian history at the University of Hawaii, and had a chance to train and compete in sumo while there.

After a brief foray into MMA, Manny Yarbrough went from amateur sumo into a venture trying to establish professional sumo in the U.S. In 1998, an event called "Night of the Giants" was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at what was then the Trump Taj Mahal. It was taped for delayed showing on ESPN, and Kevin Carter worked with the show's promoters as a TV commentator and in helping run the tournament.

But many things went wrong with the show. First off, the promoters wanted to build it around Manny Yarbrough, who by that time had built a following, especially in that region. But Manny lost in the first round of the tournament, which was eventually won by Mark Robinson, who had already defeated him in the 1996 amateur sumo world championships. In addition, there was no agreement on how this show and event would be positioned. Many of the people running it wanted it to be a spectacle, a la the WWF of that time, while others, like Kevin Carter, wanted it run like a sport. With all these problems, he said, the show was "one and done."

That failed event and what was happening in general with American sumo would also prove to be the beginning of the end of Kevin Carter's involvement in the sport, at least for some time. We will discuss that more in the upcoming second part of our interview.

Please also subscribe to the No Holds Barred page on Patreon for much more No Holds Barred content.

You can play or download No Holds Barred on Podomatic and the Internet Archive. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The Podomatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Fight Shop, home of the Skullz Double-End Bag, the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Fight Shop - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://skullzfightshop.com.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Monday, April 12, 2021

No Holds Barred: Fury vs. Joshua, Saudi Arabia, and the #JusticeForJamal Campaign, with Chris Baldwin 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with our colleague Chris Baldwin on the WAAR Room.

We spoke with her by phone Sunday, April 11.

It was just confirmed a few days ago by both fighters' camps that Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua have been made several concrete offers for where and when their heavyweight title unification fight might be staged this summer. The reported favorite location is Saudi Arabia. One reason for this is the difficulty of holding this fight in a large venue in the U.K. or U.S., which usually holds such events, because of pandemic restrictions. Another is that the monarchs in Saudi Arabia are willing to overpay to host this fight in order to claim to the world that they are building a modern, tolerant country, despite their horrific record on human rights.

When Joshua first fought in Saudi Arabia in December 2019, and Fury performed on a WWE show there in October of that year, there was limited and muted criticism of them for bringing their business to this despotic monarchy. But much has changed in the world since then.

In February of this year, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under the Biden-Harris Administration, released a report on the 2018 assassination of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report concluded:

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," who was a long-term resident of the U.S. and wrote for the Washington Post. Muhammad bin Salman is the de facto ruler of this monarchy.

In 2020, a documentary on the assassination of Khashoggi entitled "The Dissident" was released. It was directed and produced by Bryan Fogel, who also directed the award-winning documentary "Icarus" on the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal. "The Dissident" has already won several film awards and been nominated for others, but is now only available on video-on-demand because of the refusal of many large streaming sites to buy it so as not to upset their business dealings with the Saudi monarchy.

Besides focusing on the story of the Saudi activist and video blogger Omar Abdulaziz, the film includes an interview with Hatice Cengiz, who was Khashoggi's fiancee. She is an academic, researcher, and writer.

With the news that Saudi Arabia is the frontrunner to host the Fury-Joshua fight, which will be boxing's biggest fight in years and a major world sporting event, Hatice Cengiz has issued a statement to The Telegraph of the U.K. urging both fighters and their camps not to have this fight in Saudi Arabia:

"Sports should not be used for politics, nor to whitewash atrocities. Jamal was brutally murdered and it would be shameful if the man who stands accused of ordering it were allowed to benefit from this famous and profitable boxing match. I urge the organisers not to give him this reward for his crimes. We should instead stand together for justice and humanity."

Note also that The Telegraph regularly covers boxing.

At the same time, there is a "Justice For Jamal" global campaign being organized that calls for a boycott of events hosted or supported by the Saudi dictatorship: "Until there is #JusticeForJamal, no government or company in the world should do business with Saudi Arabia's criminal regime."

All of this, plus the silence of the boxing media on these issues, is the focus of this edition of No Holds Barred.

(Photo of Tyson Fury from Mikey Williams/Top Rank. Photo of Anthony Joshua from Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.)

Please also subscribe to the No Holds Barred page on Patreon for much more No Holds Barred content.

You can play or download No Holds Barred on Podomatic and the Internet Archive. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is also available on these sites and apps: 
  Google Podcasts 
  Amazon Music 
  Apple Podcasts 
  Stitcher 
  Spotify 
  Anchor

The Podomatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

LenneHardt.com, the home of Lenne Hardt, the legendary MMA and sports announcer, voice actor, singer, actress, and comedienne. Lenne is also known for her jazz vocals with her Lenne Hardt Jazz Cabaret Band. For more information, to book her, or to order a custom message from her, go to LenneHardt.com.

Skullz Fight Shop, home of the Skullz Double-End Bag, the perfect punching bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve speed, distance, and timing skills. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. Skullz Fight Shop - Advancing combat sports equipment for the next generation of fighters. For more information, go to https://skullzfightshop.com.

Adolphina Studios. Original art prints and handcrafted fine jewelry. For more information, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/AdolphinaStudios.

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Friday, April 09, 2021

"As Time Goes By, Still No Fury-Joshua Date Or Venue" on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

My latest piece, "As Time Goes By, Still No Fury-Joshua Date Or Venue", is up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page. A subscription is required to read it, so subscribe today to read it and the exclusive No Holds Barred content on this page. The article is at https://www.patreon.com/posts/as-time-goes-by-49817977 .


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Saturday, April 03, 2021

"Waiting for the Heavyweights, April 2021 Edition" on No Holds Barred Patreon Page 

My latest piece, "Waiting for the Heavyweights, April 2021 Edition", is up on the No Holds Barred Patreon page. A subscription is required to read it, so subscribe today to read it and the exclusive No Holds Barred content on this page. The article is at https://www.patreon.com/posts/as-time-goes-by-49817977.


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