Sunday, June 13, 2021

No Holds Barred: Ed Suczewski on 2021 U.S. Sumo Nationals 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Ed Suczewski, a U.S. sumo champion and president of the U.S. Sumo Federation.

We spoke with him by phone Monday, June 7.

Our main topic was the 2021 U.S. National Sumo Championships.

This event will be held Saturday, June 19, at Dreamland at 2770 W Hwy 290, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620, which is located about 23 miles west of Austin. This is an outdoor venue. Tickets are sold out online, and there will be a live stream.

The 2021 U.S. National Sumo Championships will be held at a time when sumo in the U.S. is in the midst of a revival.

"Anytime people are going through something, they look for something else they can turn to. And I think for a lot of people, sumo is that thing," he said.

"Life sometimes can just be full of all kinds of b.s. You put on a fake face at work. You put on a fake face in various relationships. But sumo is the realest, realest thing you can possibly be.

"You step in that ring. It's win or lose. It's ancient, primitive kind of battle. It connects us back to something that's ancient and inside all of us. And I think people turn to that.

"So you're dealing with all this stuff with the pandemic. I think it's got people looking for something, looking for an outlet, looking for an escape. And I think more and more people have been turning to sumo for that, to connect with something a little bit deeper.

"And I think especially now, with the Covid situation sort of improving and more people getting vaccinated, a lot of people have been thinking about coming out of the woodwork and maybe planning on it for the last year or two, now they're finally taking those steps.

"So we've seen more and more clubs popping up. More and more girls in the sport. More athletes coming out to try it."

The U.S. Sumo Nationals will determine seeding for the 2021 North American Sumo Championships, which will be held December 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In turn, the North American Sumo Championships will be a qualifier for the World Games, which will be held in July 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. The top three finishers in their weight classes at the North American Sumo Championships will qualify for the World Games. So the 2021 U.S. National Sumo Championships begins a process which will likely see many U.S. sumo wrestlers competing on the world stage. This is especially important, since the 2021 World Championships had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We also discussed some of the top athletes who will be competing at the 2021 U.S. Sumo Nationals, the format including weight classes and men's and women's divisions, how sumo is attracting athletes from many martial arts and combat sports and also American football, why we should remember and honor the late sumo world champion Manny Yarbrough, and much more.

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