Adored by ladies and admired for his powerful sumo style despite a somewhat small frame, former yokozuna Chiyonofuji ruled the game in the 1980s as a hugely well-known symbol.
Chiyonofuji's demise from the night of July 31 from pancreatic cancer sent shock waves of despair for the nation. He was 61.
Chiyonofuji, whoever appropriate name had been Mitsugu Akimoto, had supported as the Kokonoe stablemaster for the previous 24 years after he took over the place from his master.
During his lengthy sumo career, he attained appeal for their muscular and effective style, making him the nickname "wolf." Standing just 183 centimeters high and weighing 123 kilograms, Chiyonofuji usually was at a large dimensions drawback in a hobby ruled by behemoths.
The muscular and handsome wrestler additionally achieved idol status among their legions of female followers, assisting to distribute the sport's popularity.
Akimoto was born in 1955 in southwestern Hokkaido. As a kid, he excelled in most sports. Despite the fact that he had been an associate of his basketball club at his junior senior school, he often briefly joined various other sports teams should they required another player.
Former yokozuna Chiyonoyama, the Kokonoe stablemaster of the time, hailed from the exact same hometown as Akimoto. He heard of the young athletic man with great stature just who lived there. He went to Akimoto many times and attempted every little thing to hire him, although the teenager indicated no desire for sumo.
“i'll fly you on an aircraft, ” the stablemaster promised him.
From all enticements, the temptation of trip proved irresistible into the teenage Akimoto, just who made a decision to join his stable.
Chiyonofuji made their debut in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in September 1970. He was promoted to juryo, the next highest division, at the conclusion of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in November 1974, then towards makuuchi top division during the autumn event in September 1975.
He won his very first tournament on New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January 1981, in which he ended up being later marketed to ozeki, one position below yokozuna. In identical year, he became the 58th yokozuna following Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in July 1981.
That 12 months, in reality, Chiyonofuji won titles in three ranks-sekiwake, ozeki and yokozuna-an acutely unusual feat made possible only through quick marketing.