Ichinojō Takashi

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Ichinojō Takashi
逸ノ城 駿
Ichinojo 2014 May.JPG
Personal information
Born Altankhuyag Ichinnorow
(1993-04-07) April 7, 1993 (age 25)
Arkhangai, Mongolia
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 225 kg (496 lb; 35.4 st)
Stable Minato
Current rank see below
Debut January, 2014
Highest rank Sekiwake (Nov, 2014)
Championships 1 (Jūryō)
Special Prizes Fighting Spirit (1)
Outstanding Performance (1)
Gold Stars 5
Harumafuji (2)
Kisenosato (2)
* Up to date as of May 13, 2018.

Ichinojō Takashi (born 7 April 1993 as Altankhuyag Ichinnorow) is a sumo wrestler from Arkhangai, Mongolia. He is notable as being the second foreign-born wrestler, and the first of non-Japanese descent allowed to debut at an elevated rank in the third makushita division due to his amateur sumo success. In only his third professional tournament he took the second division jūryō championship. In his fifth professional tournament, his first in the top makuuchi division, he was the runner-up and promoted all the way to sekiwake, his highest rank to date. He was the heaviest man in the top division as of January 2018.

Early life and sumo background[edit]

Ichinnorow is the first of all Mongolian wrestlers who have gone on to join Japanese sumo to come from a nomadic clan, as most of the Mongolians who preceded him have been city dwellers. From a young age he participated actively in Bökh, traditional Mongolian wrestling and at the age of 14 he took the championship in the Bökh competition held in his province of Arkhangai.[1] On moving to Japan, he was on the judo team at his high school in Tottori prefecture but when the sumo coach at the school saw his ability he asked him to transfer to the sumo team. In his second and third years he collected a total of five amateur sumo titles. After graduating he was originally slated to join Minato stable which had no foreign wrestlers at the time (as only one foreign-born wrestler is allowed per stable) but he instead stayed on at his high school as a coach, and won a national amateur sumo championship taking the title of amateur yokozuna or grand champion in 2013.[2]


Ichinojo started professionally with Minato stable by taking the physical examination for new wrestlers prior to the November 2013 tournament, but as he had yet to procure his working visa, his entry to competition was postponed to the January 2014 tournament. With his previous amateur yokozuna title, he was allowed to debut at the high rank of makushita 15 in a system called makushita tsukedashi, the second foreign-born rikishi to ever achieve this status after Japanese-Brazilian Ryūdō.[3] As no one else in his stable was ranked in the makushita division or higher, he automatically became the highest ranked wrestler in his stable on entering, a rare occurrence. His shikona used his real name for the sound of the first kanji, which means "outstanding talent", and the second kanji, meaning "castle", was taken from his high school (Jōhoku).[4]

In his debut he turned in an impressive 6-1 record, which also included a win in his last bout against Amūru, a wrestler with professional experience at the jūryō level. He was promoted to makushita 3 for the following tournament. The upper ranks of makushita are extremely competitive with up-and-coming wrestlers trying to break into professional sumo and recently demoted jūryō wrestlers trying to gain re-promotion. In this environment, Ichinojō still managed a 6-1 record, with the majority of his wins being against wrestlers with jūryō experience. His record allowed him to make his debut in the professional ranks of jūryō in only his third tournament. He debuted at jūryō 10 and managed an 11-4 record, which tied him with four other wrestlers. On the final day he won a four-man playoff to take the championship, with both his playoff wins being against wrestlers he had lost against during the regular tournament, Kotoyūki and Kagamiō.[5]

He lost the July 2014 jūryō championship in a playoff with the former komusubi Tochinoshin who was returning from injury, but his 13-2 record from near the top of the second division was easily enough for promotion into the top makuuchi division. He had risen through the ranks so fast that he did not have time to grow his hair long enough to form the traditional chonmage that sekitori usually wear. In the subsequent September tournament he defeated top division stalwarts and former san'yaku Tochiōzan, Shōhōzan, and Chiyoōtori before being handed his first loss on Day 7 by Ikioi. He continued winning the second week and was paired against increasingly higher-ranked opponents, beating two ōzeki and the yokozuna Kakuryū before falling to yokozuna Hakuhō in a match-up that required the governing body to forgo a normally planned match-up between san'yaku due to the threat of Ichinojō taking the championship from such a low rank. His final 13-2 record was good enough for runner-up, special prizes for Outstanding Performance and Fighting Spirit, and promotion to sekiwake for his second makuuchi and sixth overall professional tournament.

He suffered somewhat from the stress of the attention that was heaped on him due to this impressive performance, entering the hospital with shingles a couple weeks before the next tournament and missing out on important training time. While not managing nearly as impressive a performance in the November tournament, he still returned a winning record to maintain his sekiwake rank for the start of 2015. A 6-9 record in January 2015 saw him relegated to the maegashira ranks but after nine wins in March, including a second career kinboshi or gold star for victory over the yokozuna Harumafuji, he was promoted to komusubi. He regained his best rank of sekiwake after a winning record in the May tournament, which included a first win over Hakuhō on the opening day (he did not receive a gold star for this victory as only maegashira are eligible). He was unable to preserve his sekiwake rank in the next tournament however, scoring only 4-11 in July.

Ichinojō had a less successful year in 2016 when fighting the top ranked wrestlers, scoring only two wins at maegashira 3 in January and five wins at maegashira 2 in May (although he did earn his third kinboshi in the latter tournament with another defeat of Harumafuji.) He had to withdraw from a tournament from the first time in his career in September 2016, because of lower back pain.[6] He scored eleven wins in January 2017, but from the low rank of maegashira 13. He scored 8–7 in September at maegashira 6, but did not defeat any san'yaku ranked wrestlers. He was promoted back to the sanyaku ranks in March 2018 at komusubi,[7] and after a 9–6 performance he returned to the sekiwake rank in May for the first time since July 2015.[8]

Fighting style[edit]

Ichinojō uses yotsu-sumo, or grappling techniques, rather than slapping or pushing. His preferred grip on his opponent′s mawashi or belt is migi-yotsu, a right hand inside, left hand outside position. His most common winning kimarite in his career to date is yori-kiri, a straightforward force out. He is the heaviest man in the top division, and after reaching a peak weight of around 215 kilograms (474 lb) he became less mobile and more prone to injury. After an enforced lay off with a herniated disk in September 2016 he made an effort to lose weight and fell to 185 kilograms (408 lb), the same weight at which he entered professional sumo. By January 2018 he was once again listed at 215kg.

Career record[edit]

Ichinojō Takashi[5]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
Haru basho, Osaka
Natsu basho, Tokyo
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
Aki basho, Tokyo
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
2014 Makushita tsukedashi #15
West Makushita #3
West Jūryō #10

West Jūryō #3
East Maegashira #10
West Sekiwake #1
2015 West Sekiwake #1
West Maegashira #1
West Komusubi #1
West Sekiwake #1
East Maegashira #4
East Maegashira #1
2016 East Maegashira #3
East Maegashira #11
West Maegashira #2
East Maegashira #7
West Maegashira #3
Sat out due to injury
West Maegashira #13
2017 West Maegashira #13
East Maegashira #7
East Maegashira #9
East Maegashira #6
East Maegashira #6
West Maegashira #4
2018 West Maegashira #1
East Komusubi #1
West Sekiwake #1

x x x
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Top Division Runner-up 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]


External links[edit]