2020 Miracle sumo championship winner Tokushoryu retires at 37.

Considered the “Miracle Champion” of the January 2020 Hatsu (New Year’s) Basho. Tokushoryu decides to retire, take on head coaching, and settle down to coach up and coming sumo wrestlers.

Tokushoryu (Makoto Aoki) has decided to retire at the age of 37 after dealing with inconsistency since the January 2020 miracle championship win. This comes as no surprise as he battled very hard to get back to division 1 but inconsistency railroaded that dream.

In January 2020, Tokushoryu was set as a Maegashira West 17 (The lowest ranking available in Division 1 Makuuchi) and managed to have a freak 14-1 record that led to his decisive championship victory over the Ozeki Takakeisho via Yorikiri (frontal force out). This earned him his first and only title and became the first wrestler since 2000 (Takatoriki) to win at the bottom rank. He also managed to win 2 special prizes for outstanding performance and fighting spirit. Tokushoryu’s win also highlighted that he was the first wrestler from the Nara Prefecture to win a title in 98 years. Tokushoryu’s only loss was to Kaisei during the Hatsu Basho.

During his interview, Tokushoryu asked his interviewer: “I’m just wondering: Is it ok for me to win the championship!?” Which earned great laughter and applause amongst the crowd to which the interviewer replied, “You took down the Ozeki Takakeisho and you have 14 wins, so yes, I think it’s okay!”

When asked if his good results in the early part of the basho had led him to focus on the championship, Tokushoryu said: “I didn’t think about it… OK, That’s a lie. I was actually absorbed by the idea… Since the start, I’d been thinking if I give it all I have, that will be plenty. 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. Rather than say I’m already 33, I prefer to think of myself as being only 33.”

During the tournament, his mentor, Katsuhito Ito passed away when he was 7-1 for the tournament and he decided to dedicate his performance to him and put out his best efforts. The family of his mentor lovingly postponed the funeral until after the tournament was over to allow Tokushoryu to attend. After his clinching victory versus Takakeisho, Tokushoryu visibly cried on the dohyo (ring) which is highly unusual for a sumo wrestler to show so much emotion (while it is tradition for sumo wrestlers to show impassivity on the ring to show strength, crying is very highly unusual). At pictures with the Emperor’s Cup, Tokushoryu was visibly happy but he held not just the Emperor’s Cup but also a picture of his mentor as well.

Tokushoryu followed up his yusho in the next tournament with a Maegashira 3 record but a very poor 4-11 mark. He was not able to return the division 1 level.

Tokushoryu will now become the head coach under the name Sendagawa. He also plans to open up a restaurant with his cash winnings and also continue to coach in order to keep his mark in sumo.

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Joshua Leuschner

Orioles/Ravens/Capitals/Terrapins/Inter Miami CF fan. Runs a podcast who tells it like it is (I-95 East Coast Sports Podcast) and loves sports, sports betting (responsibly of course), and finding arcane statistics in professional sports. He is also a devoted classic cartoon enthusiast (1930s rubberhose and 1940s-1960s silver/golden age animation), video game player, Enya enthusiast, devotee of classical music (Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and others), Hair/Classic/80s Rock fan, beer connoisseur, gym goer, former Slow Pitch Softball Player, and traveler.

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