Monday, January 29, 2007

Gone in 16 seconds: "Kid" makes painful wrestling return.

After a seven-year break from wrestling, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto was happy to be back on the mat on Sunday.

Unfortunately, his celebrated return at Tokyo's Komazawa Gym ended with his back on the mat.

Yamamoto was taken by ambulance to a hospital after a second-round loss to Athens Olympic bronze medalist Kenji Inoue, who hooked the K-1 star's right arm and twisted him to the mat just 16 seconds into their 60-kilogram freestyle match in the All-Japan championships.

The move, more like something Yamamoto might have seen in the K-1 ring, caught him by surprise. His arm bent awkwardly as he hit the mat, and the popular former university champ tapped feverishly on Inoue's back in obvious pain.

The referee stepped in and called the match, and the 29-year-old Yamamoto sat holding his arm as the sellout crowd sat holding its collective breath.

He was later diagnosed with a dislocated right elbow that will keep him out of action for three to four months.

According to a member of his Killer Bee team, before being taken to the hospital, Yamamoto said, "I have a minor injury, but I'll take care of myself and come back strong."

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