United States Sumo Nationals (June 19th, 2021)

Hello to all of you amazing people out there and welcome to another edition of Grand Sumo Breakdown’s United States Sumo Federation (U.S.S.F) event write up. This is Mak of the GSB crew. Jake and I had the distinct pleasure of checking out the United States Sumo Nationals down in Dripping Springs Texas this past June. The event was held at Dreamland Entertainment Complex and was hosted by The U.S.S.F and Dark Circle Sumo.

For those who need a refresher on the weight classes and divisions for the competitors they are as follows:

Men’s Lightweight:   187 lbs

Men’s Middleweight: 187 – 220 lbs

Men’s Light Heavyweight: 220-254 lbs

Men’s Heavyweight: ≥ 254 lbs

Women’s Lightweight:   143 lbs

Women’s Middleweight: 143 – 161 lbs

Women’s Light Heavyweight: 161 – 176 lbs

Women’s Heavyweight: ≥ 176 lbs

The rules of are very similar to sumo on the Japanese circuit with a few exceptions:

  1. The Gyoji starts the match when both sumotori place their fists on the shikirisen.
  2. Harite, open hand slaps to the face, are not permitted.
  3. Chokeholds and successive Nodowas are not permitted

The Gyoji for the event were a mixed group of veterans of the sport with many years of experience between them. This included Andrew Freund of the LA Sumo Club, Jessica Hopper of Mighty Eagle Sumo, Josh Clements of Georgia Sumo, 2020 Nationals Team Openweight Champion Helen Delpopolo, Sensei Tom Zabel and several others.

With some of those basics in mind, let’s get an idea of the clubs participating in the event. If a sumotori does not have a club affiliation, they are classified as Ronin until they find a club to represent. That’s not an official U.S.S.F rule, it’s one I made up and I am sticking with it. If your name is listed under the Ronin category by mistake, please reach out to us via Gmail or Twitter and we will get it corrected for our records.

U.S.S.F

Ed Suczewski (M)

Dark Circle Sumo Club

Justin Kizzart (M)

Eros Armstrong (F)

Alex Hearn (M)

Chad Neu (M)

Dallas Sumo Club

Corey Morrison (M)

Jared Tadlock (M)

Jonathan Flowers (M)

Jesse Hernandez (M)

Mighty Eagle Sumo

Caleb Baccus (M)

Nicole Burgess (F)

Ketzel Jefferson (F)

Simone Longe (F)

Lone Star Sumo Club

King Warren (M)

Honu BJJ

Justin Jones (M)

Christina Griffin-Jones (F)

Mengkin Ragan (M)

Ohayo Sumo Association

Jake Book (M)

Darius Cambell (M)

Dayne Bogard (M)

Florida Sumo Club

Cornelius Booker (M)

Aaron “Coringa” Conway (M)

Tyler Veinot (M)

Jordan Sikes (M)

Mark Jones (M)

California Sumo Association

Andrew Freund (M)

Jose Galindo (M)

Yaleidy Galindo (M)

Joseph Ponsetto (M)

Kellyann Ball (F)

Angel De La Torre (M)

Gilberto De La Torre (M)

Jimmy Doyle (M)

Josh Crook (M)

Georgia Sumo Club

Josh Clements (M)

Jacob Gill (M)

Juwaan Dowdell (M)

Christopher Houghton (M)

OC Sumo Club

Patrick Chavis (M)

Grand Rapids Sumo Club

Micah Hepler (M)

Gabe Unick (M)

Appalachian Sumo Club

Marky Nass (M)

Theodore Mitchell (M)

Bear Paw Sumo

Frank Wierich (M)
Jade Tiger Sumo Club

William Graves (M)

Jonathan Graves (M)
The Ronin

Wade Allison (M)

Katrina Carter (F)

Andrew Roden (M)

Michael Ross (M)

Mike Diaz (M)

Pedro Trevino (M)

Kristopher Resas (M)

Garett Beard (M)

Brandon Alexander (M)

Diana Betanzo (M)

Eric Huynh (M)

Roberto Fuimaono (M)

Nicolas Nguyen (M)

Ryan White (M)

Trent Sabo (M)

Americus Abesamis (M)

Kyle Ferriter (M)

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With over 62 competitors from clubs all across the United States, any fan of sumo would be in for a treat today. We took our seats near the announcers booth and had an excellent view of the matches. The event was nearly eight hours full of fantastic sumo matches and amazing Japanese cultural entertainment. It was no wonder it was a sold out show. There even was several rows of people who were without tickets crowded around the fence just to watch the tournament. But don’t take my word for it, if you’ve got the time, check out the link below and settle in for a great show.

Men’s Lightweight: 4:30 – 57:45

Women’s Middleweight 1:17:30 – 1:21:30

Men’s Middleweight: 1:21:30 – 1:50:30

Men’s Light Heavyweight: 2:29:00 – 3:01:45

Women’s Heavyweight: 3:24:30 – 3:42:30

Men’s Heavyweight: 3:43:00 – 4:52:45

Women’s Openweight: 5:07:00 – 5:36:30

Men’s Openweight: 5:37:15 – 7:19:30

As always, I highly encourage everyone to check out the recorded livestream of the event and have provided timestamps to the match blocks above. Otherwise, it’s time for the breakdown!

****************************SPOILERS AHEAD***************************

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***************************SPOILERS AHEAD***************************

***************************SPOILERS AHEAD***************************

************************YOU’VE BEEN WARNED************************

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LET’S DO THIS!

The Men’s Lightweight did not disappoint at all. The speed and intensity these men bring right off the shikirisen kept us all at the edge of our seats. From the intense match between Chad Neu and Mengkin Ragan which resulted in a torinaoshi. To Alex Hearn taking a full on body slam from Tyler Veinot. These men put it all on the line and gave a great performance. Culminating in the final match between Justin Jones and Joseph Ponsetto where Joseph pulled a fantastic reversal uwatenage at the edge of the tawara for the win. Fantastic from start to finish.

With the two ladies in the Middleweight division, it came down to a best of three match. Katrina was able to stay low and keep her balance, forcing Simone to attempt throw after throw to make her falter. However, Katrina stayed square and when Simone was off balance she capitalized on that.

The Men’s Middleweight division was another fantastic example of speed and skill on the dohyo. All of the gents who squared off at the shikirisen brought their “A” game and it was evident in their performances. Micah Hepler pulled a crushing Yoritaoshi against Ryan White only for victory to be snatched away by a reversed call from the side judges. Christopher Houghton and Garret Beard provided an excellent tawara ballet that compelled the crowed to cheer with excitement (that one had me on my feet for the second time as I reviewed it). Finally, the division came down to the climactic best of two battle for gold between Jimmy Doyle and Coringa Conway . I think my hands hurt after clapping so much for all these guys, bravo!

The Men’s Light Heavyweights were some of the most intense matches we saw that day. Patrick Chavis and Cornelius Booker had some of the most intense pregame rituals before placing their fists on the shikirisen and it got my heart thumping every time. Jacob Gill performed a particularly good reversal at the edge of the tawara against “The Viking” Brandon Alexander for the win. And later, Brandon held on against Jared Tadlock’s yoritaoshi to win by hikiotoshi in a monoii. Andrew Roden came out on top with clean sweep from the top bracket to take the gold. Excellent Sumo all around.

The ladies of the Heavyweight division displayed an excellent level of skill and power. I particularly enjoyed Christina Griffin-Jones and Nicole Burgess’s match. Christina was on the offensive right form the tachiai and had Nicole right up on the edge of the tawara. Some quick thinking on Nicole’s part allowed her to maneuver herself into a shitatenage for the win. I also have to admit, I got chills the first time I heard Eros’s warrior shout when she entered the ring. All of the women in this division gave and excellent performance and I cannot wait to see what they do in tournaments to come.

The Men’s Heavyweight did not disappoint in terms of excitement. The big boys came to play and there were many bouts that got you on the edge of your seat. Jesse Hernandez versus Eric Huynh, Kyle Ferriter versus Jesse Hernandez, Gilberto De La Torre versus Jordan Sikes and many more. Of particular note, the sixteen year old Jordan Sikes gave many of the seasoned veterans a run for their money. From an uchigake leg trig against Gilberto De La Torre to a powerful Oshitaoshi against Jose Galindo, he will be one to watch from the Florida Sumo club. Once again, it came down a a best of two between two sumotori, Robertero Fuimaono and Jose Galindo. Jose needed two wins coming off of his win over Jordan to take the gold and he pulled through in the clinch to take it. Fantastic showing from all of the heavyweights!

The Women’s Openweight was definitely a blast! Full of excellent throws and crush-outs, as well a nicely done Sabaori from Kellyann Ball. It was a shame Yaleidy Galindo was still injured from her bouts in the heavyweight division. She displayed some excellent sumo until then and I am glad she took the time to heal. The one to watch in these bouts was Katrina Carter. She had a tough opening match against Eros Armstrong sending her down to the losers bracket. From there, she fought all the way to the finals using her arms and excellent balance to her advantage. She made it back for a second round against Eros for the gold. Though her balance helped her throughout all her matches, Eros was able to square her self up and use her powerful arms to full effect. Exciting from start to finish!

And then came the slug fest. It was time for the Men’s Openwieght division. As purest a form as you can get to the Japanese Circuit in terms of skill on skill. As if 88 matches was not enough to appease them, the sumo gods also saw fit to crank up the heat and humidity for an extra challenge to the sumotori. Many of the competitors opted out due to the state of the ring and injuries. The ones that stayed however, endured those grueling conditions for over an hour and a half. Each man put up an exhilarating performance and were clearly exhausted after each round. However, Mark Jones had the toughest row to hoe in that regard. Hats off to this gentleman, he clashed with other sumotori for eleven bouts. He started from the winners bracket and then had to slog his way to the finals from the losers bracket after a defeat from Justin Kizzart. In the end though, the undefeated Kyle Ferriter was able to pull off the win despite Mark’s tenacity. Excellent showing from everyone!

————————–The Awards——————————–

Women’s Lightweight Division Results

No Contest

No Contest

Ketzel Jefferson

Men’s Lightweight Division Results

Justin Kizzart
Justin Jones
Joseph Ponsetto

Women’s Middleweight Division Results

No Contest

Simone Longe
Katrina Carter

Men’s Middleweight Division Results

Ryan White
Jimmy Doyle
Aaron “Coringa” Conway

Women’s Light Heavyweight Division Results

No Contest

No Contest

No Contest

Men’s Light Heavyweight Division Results

Jacob Gill
Cornelius Booker
Andrew Roden

Women’s Heavyweight Division Results

Yaleidy Galindo
Kellyann Ball
Eros Armstrong

Men’s Heavyweight Division Results

Jordan Sikes
Robert Fuimaono
Jose Galindo

Women’s Openweight Results

Kellyann Ball
Katrina Carter
Eros Armstrong

Men’s Openweight Results

Patrick Chavis
Mark Jones
Kyle Ferriter

————————–In Summary——————————–

We absolutely had a blast at the United States Sumo Nationals. It was entertaining from start to finish and the 8 hour event flew by with fantastic sumo bouts. The Ronin are powerful, there is no questioning that, but it appears the clubs to watch are those from Texas, Florida, and California. I cannot wait for more tournaments and events in the future so we can see how each sumotori develops within their respective clubs.

If you’d like to learn more about the sumo clubs who participated in the tournament or learn more about forming your own club, please see the links below! See you all at the next event!

Starting Sumo, United States Sumo Federationhttps://www.ussumo.org/startingsumo

Appalachian Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/appalachiansumo/

Bear Paw Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/BearPawSumo/

California Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/USASUMO/

Dallas Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/DallasSumoClub/

Dark Circle Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/darkcirclesumo/

Florida Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/FLSumo/

Georgia Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaSumoClub/

Honu BJJ Club: https://www.honubjj.com/

Houston Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Amateur-Sports-Team/Texas-Sumo-Lone-Star-Sumo-Association-475952212579064/

Jade Tiger Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/JadeTigerSumo/?ref=py_c

Michigan Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/GRSumo/

Mighty Eagle Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports-Team/Mighty-Eagle-Sumo-112948177091948/

Ohayo Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/Ohayosumo/

Orange County Sumo Club: https://www.facebook.com/OCSUMOCLUB/

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