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Sumo legend Taiho's grandson to make pro debut at Kyushu tournament

Sumo wrestler Konosuke Naya (Mainichi)
Yokozuna Taiho, right, celebrates his birthday following his 20th tournament championship, on May 29, 1966. (Mainichi)

Former yokozuna Taiho's grandson is set to make his professional wrestling debut at the November Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka, it was learned on Aug. 23.

    Set to follow in Taiho's footsteps is Konosuke Naya, a third-year student at Saitama Sakae High School, who is now captain of the school sumo club.

    "I want to wrestle in the (top) makuuchi division like my predecessor at this school, ozeki Goeido," Naya said.

    Naya is scheduled to join the Otake stable established by his legendary grandfather, whose 32 tournament championships in the top-ranked makuuchi division are second only to current superstar Hakuho's 39.

    On Aug. 23, Naya participated in a sumo tour event in Tokyo's Odaiba district, pitted against a wrestler from the makushita division, the third-highest in professional sumo. He demonstrated flawless technique, pushing his opponent out of the ring.

    "Winning in a professional sumo ring while still an amateur will build his confidence," commented Saitama Sakae High School sumo coach Michinori Yamada.

    Naya is the youngest of three sons born to Taiho's third daughter Mieko and her husband, former sekiwake Takatoriki, who has a makuuchi division victory under his belt himself. The young wrestler stands 190 centimeters tall and weighs in at about 160 kilograms -- an ideal physique for the pushing style of sumo, which is his forte. Naya won a national tournament in spring this year.

    The Otake stable was originally opened as the "Taiho Dojo" by Taiho following his retirement from the ring. It is now run by the late yokozuna's apprentice and former juryo division wrestler Dairyu, now named Otake.

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