Red-faced, the two sumo wrestlers crashed together, grappling their way around the raised earthen ring until one pushed the other over the side.

This is a typical scene in Japan's traditional sport — except the loinclothed wrestlers were 11 years old, though each weighed more than many grown men.

"I'm happy, really happy," said Hisatsugu Sasaki, the victor who even at 135 kg still had the treble voice of a child. "I hope to become a professional sumo wrestler."