Now that the Spring tournament is complete (against all odds), lets get familiar with the winners from each division:
West Jonokuchi 22 (career high)
18 years old
Career record: 7-0
Jonokuchi yusho (1)
18 year old Shinohara Taiga of Shizuoka prefecture won the Jonokuchi title with a perfect 7-0 in his professional debut tournament. He’s been wrestling since his first year of elementary school, and through the years has developed a preference for push sumo. During his second year in the Shizuoka Hiryu Senior High sumo club, he sustained a right wrist injury which required surgery. For a short period after that he found belt-gripping to be less aggravating to his injury. Recently he has switched back to pushing, now firmly reinforcing his wrists with tape. Shinohara joined Fujishima stable right out of highschool and says his ambition is to become a sekitori within 4 years.
Dewanoryu (on the left)
East Jonidan 49 (career high)
19 years old
Career record: 13-1
Jonidan yusho (1)
Mongolian Tumburbaatar Temuulen, who has taken on the shikona of Dewanoryu, secured his first (zensho) yusho in his second pro tournament on day 13, with a yorikiri win against Ryubu. The 19 year old has been practicing sumo since elementary school back in Mongolia. With the dream of becoming a professional like his idols Asashoryu and Hakuho, he came to Japan and enrolled in Fukuoka Kibougaoka Senior High and began wrestling in their well-established sumo club. After high school he joined Dewanoumi-beya.
Dewanoryu started out with a technical base of yotsu-zumo, but due to his smaller frame he is working on developing a pushing style. He seems proficient in both, taking masterclasses daily from his senior stablemate Mitakeumi (hense the strategic yorikiri against his final opponent). His goal is to get to the top two divisions as quickly as possible as a repayment to his mentors.
West Sandanme 30 (highest rank: M4)
27 years old
Career record: 146-59-93
Jonokuchi yusho (1), Jonidan yusho (1), Sandanme yusho (2)
For those who aren’t familiar with him, Ura began his professional career with 16 straight wins. Technically among the top 8 fastest wrestlers to reach the top division from entry into sumo, Ura spent only 4 tournaments ranked as a Maegashira in 2017. During his short time in the spotlight he became immensely popular for his creative and seemingly chaotic fighting style.
After knee injuries, surgery, exacerbation, and more surgery, Ura is back and seems to be climbing back up steadily. He only has 1 loss on his record since his second comeback in November, winning a 7-0 Jonidan yusho in January, and replicating his results this month for his second Sandanme title. This time he won in a playoff against his own junior stablemate, Nankairiki.
East Makushita 49 (highest rank: Ms3)
23 years old
Career record: 87-50-10
Jonokuchi yusho (1), Jonidan yusho (1), Makushita yusho (1)
The Makushita division title went to Nishikifuji of Isegahama-beya after securing his 7th win against Makushita 22 Kyokusoten by okuridashi. Nishikifuji was enrolled at Kinki University in Osaka, but dropped out to enter professional sumo in 2016 and has since achieved three lower division zensho yusho, two of them consecutively in his first two tournaments. He is mostly a belt fighter and does best with a left inside grip, same as his senior stablemate Takarafuji, who also hails from Aomori prefecture and is a Kinki University alumnus.
East Juryo 6 (career high)
20 years old
Career record: 84-38
Juryo yusho (1)
Out of top rikishi producer Saitama Sakae’s high school sumo club, Kotoshoho entered professional sumo through Sadogatake-beya in 2017. Standing approximately 190cm (6’2″) tall, the 20 year old hopeful finally pulled off his first yusho, having smoothly worked his way to his career highest rank of Juryo 6. With several wins against top division experienced wrestlers, including Ichinojo and Chiyootori, his 12-3 finish will likely afford him a promotion to Makuuchi in May.
Kotoshoho is a well rounded fighter, making good use of his length for pushing/thrusting attacks, and preferring a right inside grip when on the mawashi.
35 years old
Career record: 1160-243-164
Juryo yusho (1), Makuuchi yusho (44)
What more can be said at this point for the Dai-Yokozuna that he has not already made clear. And not to mention his final opponent who he put on an excellent final performance with. Hakuho may not have the physicality he once did, but the technique and reflexes he has forged through over 1400 professional bouts and countless more practices remains the gold standard for any of these previously mentioned winners seeking a fraction of his status. Some say the next Hakuho is out there, possibly even currently active, but Hakuho himself is still here. The “changing of the guard” may be an even more gradual process than we imagined.
- 44 top division titles.
- 15 undefeated championships.
- A run of 6 and a run of 7 consecutive championships.
- 1160 career wins, 1066 in the top division.
- 63 consecutive wins.
- 86 out of 90 possible wins in 2009, same in 2010.
- 76 basho ranked at Yokozuna.
Yahoo Japan News