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.