Underdog victories don’t come much bigger than this.
A previously unknown sumo wrestler upset the odds Sunday to win the first major tournament of the year.
No one at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament was ranked lower than Tokushoryu but the 33-year-old managed to surprise everyone to conquer almost all ahead of him.
His final victory over ozeki champion Takakeisho was met by adulation in the Tokyo arena as the underdog burst into tears in the dohyo.
Such emotional responses are scarcely seen in such a reserved sport but his tearful reaction has endeared himself to fans across the world.
“It feels like a dream. I don’t feel like myself. I feel I’m walking on clouds,” he said, according to Kyodo News Network.
“I’ve always said this, but there were no wrestlers below me in rank and I had my own fight to fight every single day, so I tried not to worry about anything else.”
Tokushoryu had spent most of his previous grand tournaments in the second division but found inspired form to win his latest competition with a record of 14-1.
Needless to say, this was the 188-kilogram wrestler’s first title of an 11-year career and his tears at the end of the 15-day event showed exactly what his victory meant to him.
“I didn’t think about what it would take for me to win the championship. I couldn’t even remember how many bouts I won or what day it was. I was that focused,” he said, per Kyodo.
“I might have cried too much, but at that moment I felt relieved from all the pressure.”
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