“Byamba” (Byambajav Ulambayar) is not only a three-time World Sumo Champion, with five years of experience in professional sumo, but he has also become the face of sumo in the USA. Byamba's childhood was in his native Mongolia, but he spent most of his teenage years (until age 20) as a professional sumo wrestler in Japan. Thus, he is intimately familiar with all details of the Japanese professional sumo lifestyle, including training, hierarchy, symbolism, cuisine, and much more. Byamba used to train regularly with both the current “yokozuna” (Grand Champions), Hakuho and Harumafuji, and he held his own against them both. For more about Byamba's background, see http://www.sumobyamba.com/bio.php
For the past six years, Byamba has lived in Los Angeles, where he continues to train and compete in sumo. He has performed in over 250 sumo demonstrations for festivals, cultural events, and private parties throughout the United States during this time. In addition, he has appeared in over 150 films, TV commercials, and TV shows, traveling abroad over 80 times for such appearances during just these past six years!
In 2012, Byamba's exploits included performing sumo in over 38 demonstrations. From the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena (multiple times), to the Riverside LunarFest, City of Fontana, the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Cal State Northridge “Carnival”, L.A. Bloom (in Little Tokyo), Nisei Week (in Little Tokyo), a day-long performance in San Francisco's “JapanTown”, and the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, he has been the highlight of numerous live, public events. In addition, in 2012, Byamba made multiple trips to Washington D.C., and four trips to Texas, to display his sumo skills. In one of the D.C. trips, Byamba showed live sumo at 11 sold-out sumo shows for almost a week at LivingSocial. These events were so successful that LivingSocial is now building a 2013 national Sumo Tour, in which Byamba will be featured in about 70 shows in 10 cities, during the early months of 2013! In Texas, Byamba performed in numerous venues, including the Menil Museum, for an audience of black-tie millionaires. Byamba competed against an elite team of sumo wrestlers from Japan, and went 6-0, in the process raising $443,000 for the museum!
Beyond all the sumo demonstrations, Byamba did many promotional events, using his fame and image to good effect. He has long been a corporate mascot for a company at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, and this year was no exception. Byamba was also the highlight performer for an Expo in Cali, Colombia, promoting the 2013 World Games, in which he will compete, as the defending World Games Sumo Champion! He made additional appearances (as he does annually) for Ozumo Restaurant (in both Los Angeles and San Francisco), and he continued his multi-year role as an icon for Subaru Canada, with additional trips to that country. In fact, Byamba made his usual 4 or 5 annual trips to Canada, not only to promote Subaru and to appear at other events, but he had a featured role in the Canadian Opera Company's production of “Semele”, where he was on stage for 9 shows during a three-week period! Byamba and other sumo wrestlers will be featured in an hour-long Discovery Channel documentary that was shot in 2012, and is expected to air in 2013.
In terms of 2012 awards, Byamba was the presenter for Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Famer Andrew Freund, at the induction ceremony. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also held a televised award ceremony, in which Byamba was one of the honorees, receiving a certificate of commendation from Los Angeles County, and public recognition for his contributions to sumo in this country.
Byamba competed in several sumo tournaments throughout the U.S. and abroad, and went undefeated in nearly every single tournament, winning gold medals everywhere he went. He had only a single loss the entire year, in one of his matches at the World Sumo Championships in Hong Kong, where he placed 3rd place (disappointing for him!). So, Byamba is definitely gunning to take back his World Sumo Champion title next time! As usual, for the sixth consecutive year, Byamba won gold at the US Sumo Open, going 9-0 in that competition (http://www.usasumo.com/ussumoopen2012.html). Byamba's overall 2012 record in all sumo competitions was about 40 wins, 1 loss.
As usual, Byamba was covered throughout the media worldwide. Here are a few of the articles about him from 2012:
U.S. Department of State article on Byamba
KCET Arrival Stories
For 2013, Byamba looks forward to more international appearances, and sumo tournaments like the World Games (Cali, Colombia), the SportAccord Combat Games (Saint Petersburg, Russia), the US Sumo Open (Los Angeles, California), and others. His national LivingSocial sumo tour schedule will be posted soon, and he also has some new film offers, which may be shot in early 2013. To top it all off, TOPPS baseball cards is featuring Byamba in their 2013 special edition cards!
Of course, since he lives in Los Angeles, Byamba can't wait for the opening of the Budokan of Los Angeles in the coming years. This venue is the ideal location, in the heart of Little Tokyo, for both sumo practices, and for sumo competitions. Byamba is very enthusiastic about being involved in more sumo-related events here, in Los Angeles.
For more information on Byamba and on upcoming sumo events, see:
Website: Official Byamba Website
Website: USA Sumo
**We reserve the right to monitor any comments posted on the Budokan of Los Angeles' website**