Sumo / Basho Reports

Brazilian-born Kaisei making waves in debut


Brazilian-born Kaisei is making a name for himself in his debut in the elite makuuchi division.

The No. 16 maegashira, who is fighting in the top flight for the first time at the May Technical Examination Tournament, is unbeaten alongside yokozuna Hakuho and appears to be only getting warmed up.

The 24-year-old Kaisei, whose late grandfather Ichiro Sugano was Japanese, became the first makuuchi debutant in 20 years to make a 7-0 start at the 15-day meet.

He is only the fourth wrestler to go 7-0 in his makuuchi start and the first since Takanonami achieved the feat at the 1991 Kyushu meet. Former yokozuna great Taiho went 11-0 in his makuuchi debut in 1960.

“I’ve trained against Takamisakari before. I was able to get a quick left-handed grip,” said Kaisei after beating Takamisakari, who slipped to 2-5, on Saturday.

Kaisei, whose real name is Ricardo Sugano, also had the honor of being chosen to act as tsuyuharai, literally “dew sweeper,” for the dohyo-iri ring entrance ceremony performed by Hakuho on Friday.

The tsuyuharai precedes the yokozuna into the ring as one of the two attendants for the ceremony. He squats beside the yokozuna while he performs his dance.

“I was nervous but Hakuho told me I did a good job. I was squatting much longer than I expected. That was hard. But the yokozuna looked cool,” said Kaisei.

As for a possible showdown with Hakuho? “I would be really nervous to wrestle the yokozuna. I am nowhere near his level. I have to study Hakuho’s moves before I can even think of wrestling him,” Kaisei said.

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