Kotoshoho joined his Sadogatake stablemates for a morning spar on Saturday under the hands-on guidance of Hidenoyama-oyakata (recently retired Kotoshogiku). Now the highest ranker (M5) in a highly successful stable, a lot of fans have high hopes for Kotoshoho, as well as for a few exciting salaried wrestlers around his age.
Among those he considers his rivals is 20 year old Oho (former Naya) of Otake-beya. Oho sealed his Juryo promotion after posting 6-1 at the top of Makushita in November. He was in the same grade as Kotoshoho at Saitama-Sakae High School, and the two have faced each other twice professionally.
“I knew he’d make it up (to salaried level) eventually,” said Kotoshoho after practice, “I want to sharpen our skills against each other. And I don’t want to lose.” Even though he leads the pack of promising up-and-comers, “I don’t really have a sense of being ahead, but I still feel competitive,” he explained.
Standing at a new highest rank of Maegashira #5 last month, Kotoshoho had the new experience of facing Ozeki Takakeisho in the final bout of day 11. He kept his footing for the first three clashes, but fell into Takakeisho’s signature pulling trap on the fourth attack. “It was a great experience,” he said, not discouraged. “I thought I fought straight-forward without any gimmicks. He was able to slap me down when he saw I was getting too excited.”
Coming off of his 12th straight kachi-koshi, Kotoshoho is expecting to compete at an even higher rank in January. When asked about his nerves going into the new year, “I got to experience the final match of the day,” he said, “so I don’t think I’ll be particularly anxious about anything. Of course I’d like to climb higher and higher, but I also want to get stronger. I’d like to see how far I can go without deciding on a limit.”
New coach Hidenoyama has hardly hung up his mawashi yet. On the contrary, he’s climbing down to the practice dohyo and putting in work at the active wrestlers’ level. “I want to support these guys in whatever kind of sumo they are striving for,” he explained.
As for his opinion on Kotoshoho and fellow top division Kotonowaka, “Their potential has been starting to show, and I want to be able to recognize it,” Hidenoyama said. “I want to give solid guidance to them while still coming from a wrestler’s point of view.”
When asked about his calf injury from back in September, “It’s healing up surprisingly quickly,” he told reporters with a smile.
Source: Nikkan Sports