A look at the last winners of the most matches in a calendar year – part III

Tochinoshin Tsuyoshi – 2018

The road to the top

Tochinoshin’s rise to the first division has been blistering, needing just two years to move from maezumo to makuuchi. Tochinoshin has always been an impressive yotsu wrestler ; focusing on the opponent’s mawashi has proved to be an efficient technique for him. Despite indifferent performances through the years, he managed to finish runner-up on two occasions, in November of 2009 and May of 2011.

Unfortunately, he suffered an anterior cruciate ligement injury in 2013, which saw him falling back to makushita. Appropriate treatment saw him, however, climb back, getting back to back juryo championships to regain a solid status in makuuchi.

After more years spent in makuuchi (with one initial sekiwake appearance in Nagoya 2016), Tochinoshin’s strengh seemingly improved and became the surprise winner of the January 2018 basho – the first being won by a maegashira since Kyokutenho in 2012, and Kotomitsuki back in 2001.

Tochinoshin’s win against yokozuna Kakuryu in Osaka 2018

That unexepected win proved to be no fluke however, as, despite being physically diminished, he produced a solid 10-5 in March of 2018, and sealed his ozeki promotion with an impressive 13-2 in May, defeating Hakuho for the first time in the process.

Tochinoshin’s win against yokozuna Hakuho in May 2018

Tochinoshin could unfortunately no replicate such performances from here, his knees continuing to trouble him. Nevertheless, collecting twenty two more wins by the end of 2018 meant no one matched the Georgian’s total of 59 wins.

What happened next ?

Sadly, Tochinoshin could not produce sufficient results, as recurring injuries severely impeded his style of wrestling. He was demoted a first time from his ozeki rank after two losing records, but managed to regain his rank with the minimum of ten wins required in May of 2019. Three more losing records meant he got demoted a second time and could not claim his rank back.Hopefully for him, his health will give him some respite so that we can see again the fearful, combattive Tochinoshin who illuminated the first part of the sumo year 2018.

We’ll close our review with the rikishi whose 55 wins in 2019 could not be matched : Asanoyama.

7 thoughts on “A look at the last winners of the most matches in a calendar year – part III

  1. Side note: This latest piece got buried underneath Part II, so I suspect many folks aren’t aware of it. Would suggest a bit of admin-switching magic to put this at the top for discussion.

  2. Poor Tochinoshin — his sumo had clearly taken a quantum leap forward in Hatsu 2018. His defensive sumo reactions were much faster; he was able to shut down moves that would have stood a chance of flummoxing him in tournaments prior. In his first tournament at ozeki he won the first five matches in dominant fashion — his win over Shohozan by skycrane tsuridashi and his nearly effortless dismantling of Abi-zumo were particularly noteworthy. But his bum knee seemed to give out in a match with Tamawashi on day 6 of Nagoya and he went kyujo; he never regained his ozeki run form.

  3. His spectacular win against Hakuho was one of the best yotsu battles of recent time. Not only because he won against Hakuho, who absolutely dominated him throughout his career, but also because Hakuho was fighting with all his power and not holding back.

  4. That January basho completely had me engrossed, hyped up, and obsessed. How I did my job those two weeks is anybody’s guess, It would be a miracle to see anything like that again. I am hoping he can be like Koto and continue to give us flashes of glory for a few years,


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