Thread: Akebono vs. Sapp
11/07/2003 12:37pm, #1
Akebono vs. Sapp
Akebono will debut against 'The Beast'
By Kenji Hall
Former sumo grand champion Akebono, right, will take on former NFL player and U.S. K-1 fighter Bob Sapp on Dec. 31.
TOKYO — It's official.
Former sumo grand champion Akebono said yesterday he has formally quit the sumo world and will launch a new career in Japan's K-1, a brutal sport that combines elements of karate, kickboxing and taekwondo.
Akebono (Waimanalo's Chad Rowan), the first foreigner ever to reach sumo's highest rank, had retired from the ring in 2001 but remained a senior member of the association.
The soft-spoken 34-year-old tendered his resignation to sumo's governing body Wednesday. He said he decided to come out of retirement for his three children, who were too young to witness his peak as a dominant yokozuna, or grand champion.
"My kids probably don't remember seeing their father in sumo. I wanted them to see their father fight," he told a press conference. "I couldn't suppress my feeling of wanting to return to fight."
Akebono said he would take on former NFL lineman Bob Sapp, nicknamed "The Beast," in his debut K-1 match Dec. 31.
Under an agreement with the K-1 organization that promotes fights for eight matches in Japan, Akebono might also face ex-heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, said K-1 producer Sadaharu Tanigaki. Tyson signed a K-1 contract in August.
The 6-foot-9, 484-pound Akebono was forced to retire from sumo because of persistent knee problems.
Akebono sought to downplay speculation that he might be hobbled by his weight and possible injuries in K-1, as he was at the twilight of his sumo career.
"When I retired from sumo my body was in bad shape. I have been recovering, slowly but surely," he said.
K-1 is wildly popular in Japan, where bouts are regularly staged before crowds of up to 70,000. The sport has held events in the United States and is seeking expansion there.
Last edited by Phrost; 11/07/2003 4:41pm at .
11/07/2003 12:41pm, #2
11/07/2003 2:15pm, #3
11/07/2003 6:04pm, #4
LOL...who do you think will win this one??? i say Sapp...but then again you can never underestimate the strength of a sumo wrestler.Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.
11/07/2003 6:21pm, #5
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- washington state
sapp is gonna killOnce a fighter, Always a fighter. Shawn
-Styles i train in-
11/07/2003 6:23pm, #6
11/07/2003 6:52pm, #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- Reno, NV
I saw Akebono sumo in Los Angeles earlier this year at the US Sumo Open. The man is a mountain. After the event him and a the other sumo wrestlers went out for drinks at my friends bar. Still to this day I have never seen or heard of anyone drinking as much alcohol as he had that night. He drank enough to kill an elephant. Just to give you an example of the things he drank that night, two economy size bottles of jagermister by himself, and six scooner glasses of beer which a comparable to 2 1/2 beers per glass, just for starters, and the list goes on. It was diffently something to have watched.
11/07/2003 7:30pm, #8
11/07/2003 7:36pm, #9
Like leading a fat lamb to slaughter.
While I've seen some pretty technical sumo, I never go the impression that was Akebono's strong suit. With his health and joint problems I see no positives in this for Akebono.
11/07/2003 10:09pm, #10
doesn't sound like akebono is in any shape to take on sapp.