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Los Angeles Sumo Pictures
Yokozuna Asashoryu performs the dohyo-iri, entering the ring ceremony, Sunday, June 8, 2008, marking the start of sumo wrestling matches at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The yobidashi, ring-side attendants, sweep the dohyo prior to the first match. Their duties range from calling the names of the wrestlers to designing and constructing the dohyo.

The ring, dohyo in Japanese, is a 18 feet square, 2 feet high clay mound. The straw ring is around fifteen feet in diameter.

Kakizoe struggles to stay in the ring as Wakanosato forces him out.

Referees confer to determine the winner of a close bout. In this case a rematch was called between Yoshikaze and Tochinoda.

Sumo throw salt into the dohyo as part of the purification ritual preceding each match.

After Toyohibiki's wrong move, Takekaze gains the upper hand and wins by okuridashi, rear push out.

Yokozuna Asashoryu grips the mawashi, belt, of Kakuryu while manoevering for position. Asashoryu is the first Mongolian wrestler to reach the highest sumo rank, yokozuna.

Asashoryu wins by tsuridashi, lift out.

Asashoryu accepts the prize from the gyoji, referee.

Baruto throws salt past the gyoji.

Kokkai, a Georgian national, charges Futeno before losing in the second round match.

Sekiwake (third rank) Ama, one of a growing number of Mongolian sumo wrestlers slaps Roho, a Russian. Sumo has become much more international in the past five years.

Ozeki (second highest ranking sumo) Chiyotaikai and Tochinoshin, a maegashira (fourth and lowest of the elite division) from Georgia smash into each other at the start of the match.

Ozeki Kaio and Aminishiki grapple for position during a fierce match.

Kaio flips Aminishiki out of the ring using shitatenage, underarm throw.

Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho throws salt before his match against Tochiozan.

Toyonoshima performs shitatenage, underarm throw, against Miyabiyama.

Yokozuna Hakuho and Tosanoumi ceremonially show they are unarmed before the final third round match.

Sekiwake Ama battles yokozuna Asashoryu in the fourth round. There was a strong presence of Mongolian fans in the arena.

Yokozuna Asashoryu smiles after being thrown by his compatriot, Ama.

Komosubi (fourth ranked) Asasekiryu rolls on his back after being forced to the ground by the upended Tokitenku.

Yokozuna Hakuho twirls Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu nearly 360 degreees into the ground.

Yokozuna Hakuho steps out of the ring while throwing komusubi Kisenosato, the winner of the second day's bouts.

Kisenosato stares at Asashoryu before the final match.

Asashoryu throws Kisenosato to win the grand championship match.

Copyright © Brian Minami / Minami Pictures