March 9, 2010 / 2:04 AM / 9 years ago

Sumo - Schoolboy giant set for pro debut

TOKYO (Reuters) - A 15-year-old Japanese schoolboy tipping the scales at 145 kilograms is set to make his professional sumo debut and is already being tipped as a future ‘yokozuna.’

National junior high school champion Ryoya Tatsu stands 6 feet 3 inches (1.93 metres) and is expected to take part in the Osaka grand sumo tournament beginning this weekend.

The Japan Sumo Association told Reuters on Tuesday Tatsu passed his first health check and was waiting for the results of internal tests to determine if he can wrestle in Osaka.

“I want to be a yokozuna (grand champion) in six to seven years,” Tatsu told the Nikkan Sports newspaper. “I want to become an aggressive champion.”

Tatsu, who hails from the hot spring resort of Nanao in central Japan, is already similar in size to his idol, Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho who boasts a 152-kg, 1.92-metre frame.

Japanese officials are desperate for the next homegrown yokozuna, the country’s last being Takanohana, who retired from the sport in 2003.

(Reporting by Alastair Himmer. Editing by Ossian Shine.

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