Takanoyama Shuntarō

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Takanoyama Shuntarō
隆の山俊太郎
Takanoyama 2008 Sep.jpg
Personal information
Born Pavel Bojar
(1983-02-21) February 21, 1983 (age 31)
Prague, Czech Republic
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Weight 98 kg (216 lb; 15.4 st)
Career
Stable Naruto
Record 325-318-10
Debut November, 2001
Highest rank Maegashira 12 (July, 2012)
Retired July, 2014
* Up to date as of July 24, 2014.

Takanoyama Shuntarō (born 21 February 1983 as Pavel Bojar) is a former sumo wrestler from Prague, Czech Republic. He is the first man from the Czech Republic to join the professional sport in Japan.[1] He reached the third highest makushita division in 2004, but due to his light weight he had difficulty in regularly beating his opponents, despite his skill.[2] However, in May 2011 he finally earned promotion to the sekitori ranks. After becoming only the third new sekitori since 1958 to pass through jūryō division in just one tournament, he made his debut in the top makuuchi division in September 2011.

Early life and sumo background[edit]

In 2012

Bojar practised judo in the Czech Republic before becoming interested in sumo. Sumo is more popular in the Czech Republic than in any other European country, with ten sumo clubs containing some 600 members, and he was trained by Jaroslav Poříz, president of the Czech Sumo Association.[3] After winning the bronze medal in the 2000 Junior World Sumo Championships in Tokyo,[2] he was accepted by Naruto stable, a heya in Chiba run by former yokozuna Takanosato. After passing the physical exam, he made his official debut in November 2001.[4]

Professional career[edit]

He was given the shikona of Takanoyama,[5] meaning "noble mountain." He reached the sandanme division in January 2003, and the third highest makushita division in March 2004. He fell back to sandanme after only two tournaments but returned to makushita in March 2005 and largely remained there for the next six years, unable to break through to the elite sekitori ranks.

Takanoyama was hampered mostly by an inability to put on weight. His height of 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) and weight of 90 kg (200 lb; 14 st) make him among the lightest sumo wrestlers in the modern era. In November 2008 he climbed as high as makushita 13, beating his previous high of makushita 15 set in November 2005, and he moved up to makushita 9 in January 2009. After compiling a 5-2 record in the July tournament, which included a win over the former maegashira Ryūhō, he reached a new highest rank of makushita 4 in September 2009. He produced another good score of 5-2 in May 2010 from makushita 6, which included wins over Jūmonji and Hōchiyama. In January 2011 a 6-1 score saw him promoted to a new highest rank of makushita 2 for the May "technical examination tournament." There he scored 5-2, guaranteeing promotion to the jūryō division for July. When the banzuke was released on June 27, Takanoyama was at #5 West, the tenth highest rank in the 26 man division. It took him 57 tournaments from his professional debut to reach jūryō, the second slowest among foreign born wrestlers after the Brazilian Wakaazuma.

He had a successful jūryō debut, winning seven of his first eight bouts and finishing on 10-5. This earned him immediate promotion to the top makuuchi division for the September 2011, only the third time since the six tournaments a year system was established in 1958 that a jūryō debutant has achieved this (the other two were Daikiko and Ichihara). Weighing in before the tournament at just 98 kg (216 lb; 15.4 st), he is the first wrestler under 100 kilos in the top division since Mainoumi in 1997.

Takanoyama had a difficult start to his makuuchi career, losing his first five matches and then only winning the sixth when his opponent inadvertently stepped out of the ring first (isamiashi). However, he picked up a legitimate win on Day 7, downing the 166 kg Yoshiazuma with a hooking inner thigh throw (kakenage) and instantly becoming a favourite with the tournament crowd.[6] He finished on 5-10, which sent him back to jūryō in November, but he responded with a 9-6 record which returned him immediately to the top division for the January 2012 tournament. He was unable to produce a kachi-koshi score in either January or March, but in the May tournament he managed an 11-4 record in jūryō which earned him a 2nd place and a return to the Makuuchi division in the July tournament. However he has yet to earn a winning record in five tournaments in makuuchi and will be demoted to jūryō once again for November. His 7–8 record in July 2013 was his seventh consecutive losing score, pushing him towards the bottom of the jūryō division. In September 2013, he finished on 5-10, his weakest performance in jūryō so far, which sent him back to makushita 2 for the November tournament. He has since skirted the border between the two divisions, being relegated twice and promoted twice.

Fighting style[edit]

Due to his exceptionally light frame Takanoyama relies heavily on throws to defeat his much heavier opponents. His most common winning kimarite is uwatenage, or overarm throw, followed by shitatenage (underarm throw) and kakenage (hooking inner thigh throw).[7] He has knowledge of a wide variety of techniques, having used 37 different winning kimarite in his career.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In an effort to improve his understanding of Japanese culture he watches historical dramas and reads manga in his spare time.[8] After reaching jūryō he returned to the Czech Republic in the summer of 2011 for the first time since leaving ten years earlier.

After the September 2011 tournament he announced his engagement to a 32 year old domestic helper from Chiba Prefecture. The couple's first child, a girl, was born in May.

Takanoyama became a sekitori at around the same time as (temporarily) breaking through the 100 kg barrier, and attributed his gain in weight to Naruto Oyakata (and the stablemaster's wife) giving him special dishes and snacks at night.[8] However, in November 2011 he was given a warning by the Sumo Association for injecting himself with insulin that had been prescribed to his stablemaster.[9]

Career record[edit]

Takanoyama Shuntarō[10]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
2001 x x x x x (Maezumo)
2002 West Jonokuchi #29
5–2
 
East Jonidan #92
5–2
 
East Jonidan #47
2–5
 
East Jonidan #75
6–1
 
East Jonidan #6
3–4
 
West Jonidan #19
5–2
 
2003 West Sandanme #83
3–4
 
East Jonidan #2
5–2
 
East Sandanme #71
4–3
 
East Sandanme #54
3–4
 
East Sandanme #71
6–1
 
East Sandanme #16
1–6
 
2004 East Sandanme #46
6–1
 
West Makushita #56
4–3
 
East Makushita #48
2–5
 
West Sandanme #9
3–4
 
East Sandanme #28
4–3
 
West Sandanme #14
3–4
 
2005 West Sandanme #28
6–1
 
West Makushita #47
5–2
 
East Makushita #35
4–3
 
East Makushita #25
4–3
 
West Makushita #17
4–3
 
East Makushita #15
2–5
 
2006 West Makushita #29
3–4
 
East Makushita #35
4–3
 
West Makushita #27
2–5
 
East Makushita #45
5–2
 
West Makushita #29
3–4
 
West Makushita #36
4–3
 
2007 West Makushita #27
2–5
 
West Makushita #49
3–4
 
East Sandanme #3
6–1
 
West Makushita #30
2–5
 
East Makushita #46
0–2–5
 
East Sandanme #22
4–3
 
2008 West Sandanme #8
5–2
 
West Makushita #48
3–4
 
East Sandanme #1
5–2
 
East Makushita #41
5–2
 
West Makushita #28
5–2
 
West Makushita #13
4–3
 
2009 West Makushita #9
3–4
 
West Makushita #13
3–4
 
East Makushita #20
5–2
 
West Makushita #11
5–2
 
West Makushita #4
3–4
 
East Makushita #10
4–3
 
2010 West Makushita #6
3–4
 
East Makushita #10
4–3
 
East Makushita #6
5–2
 
East Makushita #3
1–6
 
East Makushita #20
4–3
 
West Makushita #14
4–3
 
2011 West Makushita #10
6–1
 
East Makushita #2
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–15
East Makushita #2
5–2
 
West Jūryō #5
10–5
 
West Maegashira #15
5–10
 
West Jūryō #3
9–6
 
2012 East Maegashira #14
6–9
 
West Maegashira #16
4–11
 
East Jūryō #4
11–4
 
West Maegashira #12
5–10
 
East Maegashira #16
6–9
 
East Jūryō #4
7–8
 
2013 East Jūryō #5
6–9
 
West Jūryō #8
6–9
 
West Jūryō #10
7–8
 
West Jūryō #11
7–8
 
West Jūryō #12
5–10
 
West Makushita #2
4–3
 
2014 West Jūryō #12
4–11
 
East Makushita #3
4–3
 
West Jūryō #14
4–11
 
West Makushita #6
Retired
0–2–4
x x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Willoughby, Ian (5 April 2002). "Czech teenager taking on the Japanese in sumo wrestling". Radio Prague. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  2. ^ a b Gilbert, Howard (February 2009). "Amateur angles". Sumo Fan Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  3. ^ Swire, Dominic. "Sumo in Prague". Finance New Europe. Retrieved 2009-09-23. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Czech hoping to join sumo elite". Japan Times. 3 Nov 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  5. ^ "Czech wrestler gets Japanese name". Japan Times. 20 Nov 2001. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  6. ^ "Lightweight Czech grappler a crowd-pleaser in sumo's top division". Mainichi Daily News. 20 September 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Takanoyama bouts by kimarite". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  8. ^ a b Smaal, Rob (10 July 2011). "Takanoyama eager to live juryo dream". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sumo wrestler Takanoyama warned for injecting himself with insulin". Mainichi Daily News. 9 November 2011. Archived from the original on 10 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Takanoyama Shuntarō Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 

External links[edit]