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Posted: Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 11:52 AM HST

Sumo legend Kuhaulua: My heart is on Maui

By Associated Press

KAHULUI, Hawaii (AP) Sumo legend Jesse Kuhaulua went from speaking pidgin to fluent Japanese when he left Maui for a career in sumo and life in Japan 50 years ago.

He broke cultural barriers, reached the third-highest rank in the centuries-old national sport and became a coach to up-and-coming wrestlers.

But Kuhaulua told The Maui News his heart is on Maui.

Sumo wrestlers are known for being heavy, but the 69-year-old says he tries to lay off food now.

Kuhaulua says he lost around 115 pounds after dieting for about a year. He's now down to about 300 pounds.

Attending the 50th reunion for his Baldwin High School class last year prompted him to eat healthier. He says he also wants to be alive for the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

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