Tochinoshin Retires

Yesterday afternoon rumors started to spread that Tochinoshin had retired. The only news I was finding at that time were a few social media posts and an article out of his native Georgia but nothing seemed to be official, so I wanted to hold off on the report until I got more concrete word. I fell asleep sometime during Jonidan action but when I woke up, I woke up to images of Tochinoshin in a blue kimono in front of the purple and white Sumo Kyokai press-conference backdrop. It’s official. Former Ozeki, Tochinoshin, has retired.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the end of his career comes on the heels of Ichinojo’s retirement because during their heyday, their bouts were always a highlight bout featuring Tochinoshin’s strength versus Ichinojo’s size. That sky-crane strength catapulted Tochinoshin to a top-division title in 2018 which precipitated his successful Ozeki-tori, which was really the pinnacle of his career.

Injuries had hindered his initial, rapid, rise up the banzuke, forcing him to miss several tournaments in 2013 and fall into Makushita. He came back, though, and barnstormed his way to consecutive Makushita titles, then consecutive Juryo titles, on his way back to the top division and eventually, the sport’s second-highest rank. But he, and the sumo world, knew that he was fighting on borrowed time. He had a short reign as Ozeki and his performance declined during the pandemic years as he slid, agonizingly, into Juryo. Winless in Tokyo, and with demotion from sekitori status a greater possibility, he has called it quits.

Tochinoshin does not have a kabu and will likely return to Georgia. His influence there, along with Gagamaru, will hopefully continue to spark interest in the sport and hopefully a new generation of recruits to compete at the highest levels.

8 thoughts on “Tochinoshin Retires

  1. A real star of the last few years and I wish him well for the future. When I got back into sumo several years ago his bouts were a mainstay, helped by the fact he was a fixture on Jason’s channel due to the huge Georgian viewing figures. Loved the sky crane and seems like a decent guy. Also glad he didn’t suffer any further awful injuries although clearly the sport has taken its toll. All the best Tochinoshin.

    • Yep, all the best. He could’ve had another basho if not for the infamous “heel” fight vs. Asanoyama in May 2019.

    • Sadly, he did suffer another awful injury. Pain precipitated his retirement if you can beleive Chris Sumo’s youtube video. Sad to see yet another retirement due to injury so close on Ichinojo’s retirement.

      Best of luck to them both!

  2. We’re really rolling with the “changing of the guard” in the upper levels of sumo now. I expect we’ll see more retirements from Juryo (or watch rikishi fall into Makushita) for those who have fought in the upper levels for a number of years over the next couple of basho. I wish Tochinoshin well and am thankful that I saw him compete.

  3. ppl were cheering him on previous match, day 4 , tochi tochi tochi tochi… he is so lucky to leave the game being so liked by the crowd

  4. He was one of my very favorites. I loved how he would get the native Japanese speakers to laugh when he would be interviewed. The sky crane was something else, alas we shan’t be seeing that again the way Tochinoshin did it. Best wishes to him.

  5. My sister and I became fond of watching him over the past few years, cheering loudly when he won and shouting when he lost a close call. (several bouts we still think he was robbed.)

    I hope some day to see a young Georgian mount the dohyō bearing a name that honors Tochi.

    You gave us many hours of enjoyment and thrills, Levan. May your next stage in life be rich and blessed.

    • The comments above pretty much say it all. Tochi was certainly one of my favorites. Something about him. And of course, we will not forget his famous Lift & Place to secure a successful match. All the best my man…..


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