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Former Ozeki Takanonami Dead at 43

Former Ozeki Former Ozeki Takanonami died suddenly on June 20th at the age of 43. Otowayama-oyakata reportedly collapsed at an Osaka hotel around 10 AM where he was found unresponsive. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and the cause of death was reported as heart failure. Takanonami, who was a fan favorite on the sumo broadcasts, had health scares in the past that caused him to take a break from his oyakata duties during a tournament, but his untimely death sent shockwaves throughout the Association. Takanonami is best known as the Ozeki stable mate of Takanohana and Wakanohana during the boom years for sumo in the mid-nineties. Promoted to Ozeki alongside Musashimaru in early 1994, Takanonami captured two career yusho and constantly ran interference for his stable mates among the elite ranks playing a key role in establishing the Futagoyama-beya as the strongest sumo stable of the 90's.

Takanonami was well-known for an unorthodox move where he was use one hand on his opponent's shoulder and then his other hand on the outer belt using his height advantage to swing his opponents over and down.  He was also a master at using his legs to trip up his opponents, and both of his yusho came after playoff wins against stable mate Takanohana where he tripped him to the clay in both bouts.  Takanonami retired from sumo in 2004 and quickly became a regular guest host on the NHK broadcasts.





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