I certainly couldn’t let this go by with just a passing sentence in an unrelated post. But yesterday’s news was such a shock and there was little on details.
It is official, Ichinojo has retired. The Mongolian Monster was beloved for his love of ice cream. Much light was made of his rural upbringing and jokes of tossing ponies around. However, his back pain proved too much to bear and he is walking away from the sport, even after consulting with his stablemaster and parents.
His relationship with Minato-oyakata had been strained over the past year, with much coming to light just after he had won his top division title. There have been concerns for his health and welfare but it had looked like he might be able to put that recent drama aside. He had just won the Juryo yusho, reclaiming his spot in Makuuchi after losing it to his one basho suspension. But it appears that he has been unable to train or compete and in a considerable amount of pain, so he could not be talked out of this path.
He has Japanese citizenship but does not have a kabu (stock) so he will not be staying on in the Kyokai as an oyakata. We at Tachiai wish him well in his future endeavors and will hopefully be able to keep track of whatever career path he decides to follow.
6 thoughts on “Ichinojo Retires”
I believe that there is more to the story than what’s reveled so far. Let’s wait and see.
If the time was right to move on in life I hope he finds success and happiness but I am really gonna miss seeing him on the dohyo ☹️
As Ichinojo appeared relatively mobile in the last basho, this comes as a surprise. However, his recent history was that he performed best after missing a basho. I guess that should have been a signal that the clock was ticking on his career. I hope that he now can find some relief from the terrible pain with which he has been living. I’ll miss the big fella.
Have to agree with the speculation that there is something else going on here. If it is just the back injury, then why not go kyujo and pick up another tournament’s salary before retiring? Makes no sense to throw away that much money.
In any case I am totally gutted at this news. Always loved the big guy. I even have an ichinojo t-shirt. There is a great documentary about him on YouTube from his early days. It really gives a sense of how painfully shy he is and what big step it must have been to come to Japan.
We just don’t know how much pain some of the rikishi are enduring to compete. I’ve become more aware recently of bouts in which one of the contestants doesn’t seem to be going flat out, and guessing this is because of their injuries or painful conditions. Certainly Ichinojo had many such bouts. I also wonder whether his reported problems with alcohol resulted from self-medication for ongoing pain. I hope he can get his life together.
I’ve had high hopes for him since he stormed his way up to makuuchi and nearly took the title. Always thought he was better under the 200kg mark, much quicker, but he seemed fairly fast in his last two tournaments. I know he’s had back injuries but I didn’t realise it was that bad. Maybe there is more to it but I’ll miss the big lug. At least he finally got his makuuchi yusho.