武蔵丸 光洋

Musashimaru Koyo is the sumo wrestling name of Fiamalu Penitani. He was born on May 2, 1971 in American Samoa and was raised in Waianae, Oahu.

The Moose, as he was called on American television, is an impressive challenger at near 500 pounds (192.0cm at 237.0kg, at the November 2002 tourney he weighed in at 522 pounds). He is a member of the Musashigawa beya (a sumo "stable", what a "club" is to MLB). He debuted in the makuuchi division in November, 1991. His final record is (inlcuding pre-makuuchi bouts) is 779 wins, 294 losses, and 115 draws with 12 championships. He won one tournament zensho yusho, undefeated in 15 matches, in Nagoya 1994. He also holds these special awards:

Since his debut in September of 1989 Musashimaru has traveled steadily through the ranks, quickly from juryo in July to makuuchi in November of 1991. He achieved Ozeki status before the Haru Basho of 1994. Spending five years at Ozeki is no small achievement, especially for a gaijin, at this point he and the other greats from Hawaii were honored:

On Wednsday March 31, 1999 the Japan-America Society of Hawaii staged the first ever banquet called "Hawaii Salutes Our Sumo Champions", featuring Azumazeki Oyakata, Yokozuna Akebono, {then} Ozeki Musashimaru, and ex-Ozeki Konishiki. Prior to the banquet, all four champions held an autograph session for fans attending the banquet. The event was a success and 2,000 people attended, in spite of the least expensive seats going for US$75 and the most expensive for US$500.

Musashimaru was given the title Yokozuna (the 67th in sumo's 1500 year history) on May 26, 1999. Here is a snippet from an article at the time:

TOKYO, May 26 (Kyoto) - The Japan Sumo Association formally decided today to promote ozeki Musashimaru, the winner of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, to sumo's highest rank of yokozuna...

Musashimaru ... assured himself of the promotion to become the 67th yokozuna, or Grand Champion, of Japan's ages-old sport after winning his second straight championship by beating yokozuna Akebono ... in the Tokyo tourney final Sunday to finish the Summer Grand Sumo tournament with a 13-2 won-loss record... (sic)

Musashimaru joins Akebono, Wakanahana and Wakanahana's younger brother Takanohana as yokozuna in Nagoya in July, making it the first grand sumo tournament in eight years to feature four grand champions. It took Musashimaru 59 tournaments since his professional debut in September 1989 to attain yokozuna rank.

Over the next few years, until his retirement on November 16, 2003 at age 32, The Moose won 7 more basho to bring his total to 12 (edging out his Hawaiian predecessor Akebono Taro by one to hold the sixth-best of all time). Additionally, as of his retirement, Musashimaru was the only sekitori to have finished with a kachikoshi in 55 consecutive tournaments (that is, a winning record of 8-7 or better for 4 and a half years straight). Over his career he won most often with oshidashi (the most basic brute strength maneuver, a frontal push against the opponent right out of the ring) or yorikiri (a similar technique forcing opponents up and out using a grip on the mawashi the entire time). His fighting style shows a conservation of movement, with good speed, and tremendous strength (which seems obvious given his size). When he is locked around his opponent forcing him from the ring his tree-trunk thighs show solid, ox-like muscle. The successes didn't seem to move him that much however; he is usually an introvert and keeps quiet, solemnly posing for photos, handshakes, or autographs.

Sources:
Honolulu Star-Bulletin for May 25, 1999 - "Sumo's ruling board promotes Hawaii's second Yokozuna to the exalted rank" By Pete Pichaske, Phillips News service
http://www.sumo.or.jp

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