Tokushoryu win: Underdog sumo wrestler celebrates unexpected win with tears

Sumo wrestler Tokushoryu reacts after beating Ozeki Takakeisho at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on 26 January 2020, to win his first top-division championship. Kyodo Photo via Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News Image copyright Alamy
Image caption As the lowest-ranking fighter, Tokushoryu said he had "nothing to fear" and went on to win the tournament

No-one could have predicted the victory of sumo wrestler Tokushoryu - the lowest ranked competitor at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.

But win he did and burst into tears after beating his opponent in a rare public display of emotion.

He ended the 15-day contest on Sunday with 14 wins and one defeat.

His victory means Tokushoryu is the first bottom-ranked sumo wrestler to win a top-division title since March 2000.

The wrestler - who weighs 188kg (414lb) and is 1.81m (5ft9ins) tall - beat his opponent Takakeisho, a champion wrestler, out of the dohyo ring at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium.

After his victory, some spectators described how he was crying one minute, laughing the next.

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Tokushoryu receives the Emperor's Cup from the head of the Japan Sumo Association

"I might have cried too much, but at that moment I felt relieved from all the pressure," news agency Kyodo quoted the 33-year-old as saying in a post-win interview.

"Deep down I'm feeling like: 'Is it ok for me to win the championship?' I was the lowest-ranking fighter, so I had nothing to fear. I just had to give it everything I had."

After seizing the tournament's lead on Saturday, he said he had recited the sumo mantra to himself: "I'm not focused on the championship."

He also said the death of his coach - which he learnt of halfway through the tournament - was another thing that spurred him on to victory.

He then decided he should win the tournament "for him", he said.

He had spent 12 of sumo's previous 13 grand tournaments in the second-tier juryo division, Kyodo reports.

"Since the start [of the tournament], I'd been thinking if I give it all I have, that will be plenty," he said.

"If I do my best on the opening charge, I can live with the results that follow. I'd done it my way all along, and the final day was the same."

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