Abi hands in intai documents

Japanese press reports that Abi has handed in his intai documents, according to Shikoroyama oyakata.

The board convenes on August 6th to discuss his punishment, and will also decide whether or not to accept his resignation. However, the chances of it not being accepted are said to be slim.

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.

Toyonoshima announces his retirement

The NSK official Twitter, as well as most of the sports outlets in Japan, report that the highly popular Tokitsukaze beya veteran, Toyonoshima, has announced his retirement, and will now become Izutsu oyakata.

Toyonoshima was ranked Ms2e for Haru and expected to gain back his sekitori privileges (and income) with a simple kachi-koshi. Sadly, that kachi-koshi didn’t come, and his 2-5 result was certain to send him below the promotion rank on the Natsu banzuke.

When that result became clear, Toyonoshima asked the press to give him some time to consider his options. He said he was more or less ready to quit, but his daughter wanted him to press on.

We sometimes refer to short-stature rikishi like Ishiura, Terutsuyoshi and Enho as “pixies”, and marvel at their ability to maintain high rank and fairly impressive results in Makuuchi. But Toyonoshima and his 170cm have been there long before them. Toyonoshima reached the rank of Sekiwake several times, and raked in 5 jun-yusho, 10 special prizes and 4 kinboshi during his 18 year career.

As Izutsu oyakata, he intends to continue serving at Tokitsukaze beya.

Intai Watch: Goeido Retires

Goeido has decided to call it quits after a 15-year long career. A determined yotsu specialist from Osaka, he rose quickly through the junior ranks collecting yusho in Jonokuchi, Sandanme, and two in Makushita before becoming sekitori at the close of 2006. Two years later he cracked into the sanyaku for the first time.

In 2012, he reached Sekiwake again and stayed for 14 consecutive tournaments before his promotion to Ozeki after an impressive run, picking up two jun-yusho and three consecutive tournaments with special prizes. The highlight of his career was his zensho yusho in September 2016.

Unfortunately, the later phase of his career was hampered by injury, notably his ankle. This may have contributed to consistency issues which cropped up early in his Ozeki phase. Shortly after his promotion, this blog commonly referred to him and Kotoshogiku as the “kadoban twins” for the frequency with which they were under demotion pressure. For Hatsu 2020, he was kadoban yet again due to his kyujo in Kyushu but this time he was not able to clear that status with a winning record. He finished with a poor 5-10 performance, though he gave it all in each bout.

With the Osaka tournament coming up next, it seemed a perfect time for a last stand, a chance to throw everything at getting 10 wins to reclaim his Ozeki rank or at least have a last hurrah in front of the home crowd. Perhaps the condition of his injury is too poor to perform to his expectation with too little time between now and then, even with a break from jungyo.

*Update*

The Official Sumo Kyokai account announced that Goeido of Sakaigawa-beya had acquired a kabu (stock), afterall, and would be taking on the elder name Takekuma (武隈). We’re eager to see Takekuma-oyakata build his own stable.

We will post future updates on dates for the intai ceremony. Ceremonies for top former wrestlers, of which he would certainly be included, are usually held at Kokugikan but I would hope they would be able to hold his in Osaka next March. In the meantime, Takekaze is next on the docket for this weekend.

Intai Watch 2020

Hakuho’s shock admission that he plans to retire this year has put the sumo world on notice that change is coming. Obviously, the date for Hakuho’s retirement is likely in the latter half of the year but a massive question mark remains. With his and Kakuryu’s kyujo, dates for both announcements may be soon.

There are also several big name retirement ceremonies on the docket this year.

Takekaze

Takekaze’s intai celebration will take place at Kokugikan, next Saturday, Feb. 1. We should all get used to his elder name: Oshiogawa (押尾川). Below is the announcement from his official Twitter profile. If you’ll be in Tokyo next week there are only a few seats left in the A and B rings of the upper level!

Arawashi

Arawashi announced his retirement during the Hatsu Basho 2020. The tournament was his second consecutive complete kyujo (全休). He had fallen from Juryo into Makushita for Kyushu and was no longer the top-ranked rikishi (heyagashira) at Minezaki beya. Arawashi’s retirement ceremony will be on May 31, at Kokugikan. (Hat tip to Herouth!) If I find a website, I will pass that info along.

Aminishiki

Uncle Sumo’s storied career came to an end in Nagoya last year. Versatility was his virtue, having won using some 46 kimarite. He was well adapted to win using both yotsu and oshi styles…though late in his career he became quite fond of the henka. Now known as Ajigawa-oyakata (安治川), you can go watch his retirement ceremony on October 4. Some seating has sold out but you can get lower level MASU boxes in the B and C rings, as well as A, B, and C rings of the second level.

Yoshikaze

Yoshikaze followed Aminishiki off the dohyo the following tournament after falling into Juryo. However, he’s getting his haircut one day earlier, on October 3 at Kokugikan. Tickets have not yet gone on sale but that is expected to happen around Feb. 2.

The berserker’s wild, aggressive style was still quite successful in the lower ranks of the maegashira so his kyujo and subsequent retirement appeared to be quite sudden compared to the longer slides we have seen. We look forward to seeing the deshi Nakamura-oyakata (中村) produces.