Hawaiian sports activities actions world mourns lack of Akebono

The world is mourning the dearth of Akebono Taro, one amongst Hawaii’s most legendary athletes and an iconic decide in sumo wrestling. Born Chad Rowan, Akebono handed away, abandoning a legacy as a beloved ambassador of the islands and a pioneer throughout the sport of sumo.

Standing at 6 toes 8 inches, the earlier Kaiser Extreme Faculty basketball standout and one-season participant for the Hawaii Pacific Faculty basketball group transitioned to sumo wrestling, the place he made historic previous. Akebono turned the first non-Japanese-born wrestler to realize Yokozuna grand champion standing, the easiest rank in sumo.

Following his sumo occupation, he found success in expert wrestling and blended martial arts, incomes a spot throughout the Hawaii Sports activities actions Hall of Fame.

Former Hawaii sportscaster and ESPN host Neil Everett shared his recollections of overlaying Akebono’s occupation, highlighting his illustration of Hawaii on a world stage. “Successfully, I really feel part of the affect, Rob, is that, you notice, he represented Hawaii. You perceive, in Japan, type of like a couple of of our sports activities actions stars have represented Hawaii on the mainland. And it’s comparable to you carry the burden of the entire state with you. When you go to Japan, you take Hawaii with you when you depart. And he represented Hawaii correctly, you notice, he purchased to the very best of the mountain in sumo.”

Everett recalled his personal encounters with Akebono and described him as a decide of immense recognition and warmth in Japan. “I went there to report on sumo after I used to be a sports activities actions journalist in Hawaii. And he couldn’t have been nicer. You perceive, he was Michael Jordan in Japan. So it was really one factor. One factor I am going to all the time keep in mind, one factor that put a lump in my throat at current after I heard that he had handed away. And I really feel you always must remember the fact that he wasn’t solely a big little one. He was an infinite boy with an infinite coronary coronary heart.”

K1 and Rumble on the Rock promoter Rich Chou launched Akebono once more to Hawaii throughout the early 2000s for a fight at Aloha Stadium all through his MMA/Kickboxing days. He remembered Akebono as a gentle massive and a proud islander.

“Being that humble warrior nonetheless always conscious of representing the place he was from. Though he lived in Japan on the time and have turn out to be a part of that group and its custom, he knew that stopping that fight in Hawaii was one factor important to him on account of he really took it upon himself to wish to do it. be certain he represented. “I really feel all the greats felt that responsibility and carried that pleasure with them and he is really on the excessive of the itemizing.”

Akebono died of coronary coronary heart failure earlier this month in a Tokyo hospital, and was survived by his partner, daughter and two sons. The family plans to hold a private celebration of life.

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