Mainoumi facing the giant Konishiki One of my favorite sumo-tori (sumo wrestlers) of all time has to be Mainoumi.  Mainoumi was born Shuhei Nagao and was an amateur national sumo champion while attending Nihon University.  He changed his name as all sumo wrestlers do to Mainoumi when he turned pro to reflect his sumo stable which was Dewanoumi.  Mainoumi was active in the 1990s when Sumo was very popular.  Sumo was very popular worldwide at that time because of the influx of non-Japanese wrestlers who were very good and some even went on to become grand champions or Yokozuna.  I like Mainoumi because he was so much smaller than the average sumo-tori yet he beat many famous and larger wrestlers like Musashimaru, Akebono, Konishiki and Kyokushuzan.  At the time, Mainoumi was considered small at 5' 7.5" inches and weighed only 215 lbs compared to Konishiki who was 6' 1.5" inches and 633 lbs or Akebono the grand champion who was 6' 8" inches and 514 lbs.  The American announcers called him Mainoumi "The trickster" but the Japanese media dubbed him "Waza no depaato" or the department store of techniques because of his knowledge of the sumo techniques.  One of his specialty techniques was mitokorozeme which hadn't been used in the modern era of sumo where he simultaneously tripped the leg, grabbed the other leg and barred his head into the opponents chest to force him out.  He had incredible balance and kinesthetic awareness which enabled him to switch techniques or fend off attacks.

Mainoumi was also well known for how he skirted the height requirement by injecting silicone into his scalp to gain a couple more centimeters.  Since then, the Japan Sumo Association has added special dispensations for former amateur champions.

Mainoumi didn't win a lot but when he did it was usually an incredible bout and he always seemed to give the biggest and best wrestlers a run for their money.  He didn't win a lot, amass a winning record or graduate to the highest division of wrestling, but I admired him for his fighting spirit.  What do they say, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."

Here is a video of some of his biggest wins.