Tochiozan Bows Out

There have been several retirements since we last saw action in Osaka. Sokokurai and Toyonoshima called it quits back in March but in the past week, Seiro and now Tochiozan have handed in their retirement papers as well. He debuted in 2005 with an unbroken stint in the top division that lasted from 2007 to November of 2019. A poor 3-12 in Osaka meant he was listed in Juryo again this tournament, for only the second time since Hatsu 2007.

“I coulda been was a contender”

Tochiozan hailed from Kochi-ken and rose very quickly through the lower ranks and into makuuchi within two years. He peaked at Sekiwake, a rank he held 11 times, including four in a row during an unsuccessful Ozeki run in 2015. That Ozeki run came when the division was a bit top heavy with three Yokozuna and four Ozeki. He claimed 6 kinboshi during his long career, including three from Kisenosato and one each from Kakuryu, Harumafuji, and the GOAT, Hakuho. He was predominantly successful as a pusher-thruster but was certainly dangerous on the belt as well.

As Herouth reports, his retirement from the ring is not a retirement from sumo. He will continue as coach under the name Kiyomigata (清見潟). I wonder if he will seek more talent from his Shikoku home.

11 thoughts on “Tochiozan Bows Out

  1. I started watching sumo after his prime but I remember seeing pictures of him in a kesho-mawashi with a Tosa Inu dog yokozuna on it, from his island, which I enjoyed. Best wishes to him.

  2. Tochiozan is 11th all-time in appearances as Komusubi or Sekiwake, with 25, 7th among those who never made Ozeki, and 3rd in the last 20 years.

  3. Without a doubt, Tochiozan was one of my favorites. He was a gamer, for sure! I wish him all the best post-retirement.

  4. He was my favorite from the first tournament I watched, sometime in that 2015 Sekiwake spell. He just fits the mental picture I had for a sumo wrestler, both in physique and demeanor in and out of the ring. Never showy (despite the Elvis-looking hairdo at times), always business, and typically a contender. I will miss that stability of his in this topsy-turvy era we find ourselves witnessing. So few of the old guard remain, much less in a competitive state. Glad to see he’s an oyakata now; the young rikishi need a man like him to show them the true discipline of the sport they’ve taken up.

    • I hope he uses his retirement to give the Elvis hair/chops another chance, he really wore them well.

  5. A little bit surprised to see a handful of the Tochiozan fans here. It’s a shame that I never really got a chance to watch him compete at his peak. I came into Sumo when he was just a makuuchi mid-table mainstay with the odd above-average tournament here and there. There was always something about the way he fight that is always pleasing to watch. I can’t really put my finger to it but always look forward to his bouts.

    The writing was on the wall and I’m happy we got to see him fight when he got re-promoted. I guess his battered body probably just could not do it anymore. Glad he’s a oyakata now so we will probably see hear about him from time to time.

  6. This news prompted me to look up where the rikishi who were in the top division for Kyushu 2016 (arbitrarily chosen as roughly when I started following closely) are now. 24 of the 42 are ranked in Makuuchi for the upcoming July basho. Nine have now retired: Harumafuji, Kisenosato, Goeido, Tochiozan, Yoshikaze, Takekaze, Takanoiwa, Arawashi, and Sokokurai. Nice toil in lower divisions: six in Juryo, two in Makushita, and the last man on that banzuke, Gagamaru, in Sandanme. Of the nine, only one, M4 Chiyonokuni, was ranked above M10 on that banzuke.


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