sumo

news.com.au

Japanese sumo wrestler Hibikiryu died at a Tokyo hospital Wednesday, a month after being injured and left unaided for a time following a match. Hibikiryu, whose real name is Mitsuki Amano, was a low-ranked wrestler competing at the March Grand Sumo Tournament when he was thrown and landed head first on the ground. He lay motionless, face down, as officials seemingly milled around and then had to wait several minutes before a stretcher arrived to take him from the arena.

The official cause of death was given as acute respiratory failure and it's so far unclear if it was directly related to Hibikiryu's injury. But the sport's governing body, the Japan Sumo Association, has faced several scandals in recent years and is now receiving severe criticism over a perceived failure to protect wrestlers.

Sumo wrestler Terunofuji capped a nearly three year comeback from knee surgery to win the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday in Tokyo and likely return to ozeki status, the sport's second highest rank. The Mongolian-born Terunofuji entered the event's last day of competition with a one win lead over three other wrestlers but was literally pushed to the brink by his final opponent, Takakeisho.

After Terunofuji missed an arm grab, Takakeisho shoved him up against the edge of the ring but couldn't quite force him out as the Mongolian righted himself and finally managed to push Takakeisho out of the circle for the tournament-clinching victory, the third top division title of his career. A one-time ozeki, Terunofuji was hampered by knee injuries and demoted in 2017. Following knee surgery in 2018 he was forced to compete among the sport's lowest levels, a first for a former ozeki. Sunday's win should finally enable his return to ozeki status.


Tochinoumi, the 49th yokozuna, or grand champion, in sumo history and the oldest living yokozuna passed away Friday at the age of 82 from a lung infection. At 82 years and 10 months, he had the second longest life span of any yokozuna in history.

Debuting in sumo in 1955 Tochinoumi was promoted to the sport's top rank in 1964, though he only managed one tournament win after that and was forced by injuries to retire at 28, the youngest age a yokuzuna has ever retired. Overshadowed during his career by fellow grand champions Kashiwado and the legendary Taisho, Tochinoumi was, nonetheless, notable as both one of the smallest grand champions ever and one of the best technicians. Weighing just 242 pounds, he won six tournament awards for best technique throughout his career.


In a competition bereft of many of its top wrestlers, Daieisho was a surprise winner of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday in Tokyo. With the area under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and a post-war record 19 wrestlers withdrawing from the event, Daieisho pulled off the upset victory coming from the maegashira level, the lowest of five ranks in sumo's top division, to win the title.

It was Daieisho's first championship as he finished the event with a 13-2 record. Displaying a powerful pushing and thrusting style, he also garnered the prize for outstanding performance during the tournament as well as the prize for best technique.