March 15, 2007

BIG & BENT:

For sumo's goliaths, a quaking moment: Published allegations of match fixing make for some peeled eyes at an Osaka tournament. (Bruce Wallace, March 15, 2007, LA Times)

It sure looks real enough, all those vicious slaps to the face and head-smacking collisions and men of generous poundage being hurled into the dirt.

But the shadow of fraud hangs over this spring's sumo tournament in Osaka. The event is taking place in the wake of a muckraking weekly magazine's accusations that Japan's national sport is all scripted, and allegations that a stunning run of tournament victories by Asashoryu, the unassailable grand champion who hails from Mongolia, has been greased by bribes.

Could it be that these goliaths will take a tumble for a price? Has Asashoryu's supremacy really been built on cash distribution rather than his speed, brute power and nasty streak?

Nah, say most of those filling the seats here at the Osaka Gymnasium during the sumo world's annual sojourn outside Tokyo, which began Sunday. They won't accept that the sport might be fixed. And even if Asa, as he is nicknamed, has paid off other wrestlers, they say it won't ruin their enjoyment of a pageant that depends in large part on artistic showmanship.


Didn't they read Freakonomics on sumo?


Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2007 6:47 AM
Comments

What? Phoney professional wrestling! Who ever heard of such a thing.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 15, 2007 4:12 PM
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