Atami Fuji: A Young Phenomenon Rising in the Grand Sumo Autumn Tournament
A Young Contender’s Remarkable Performance
At the Grand Sumo Autumn Tournament held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, a young and promising wrestler, Atami Fuji, who ranks as a maegashira 15th rank east, maintains an impressive three-loss record. Atami Fuji, despite recent losses to Daieisho and Takakeisho, managed to halt his losing streak at two. With Takakeisho’s loss to Toyoshoryu, Atami Fuji reassumes his position as the sole leader, putting him in a strong position for what could be his first championship win.
Atami Fuji, who had recently suffered two consecutive losses, overcame a challenging match against Aya to secure his 11th win. He had previously faced off against Takakeisho for the first time on Day 13, where he experienced the difference in strength, but managed to switch gears, stating, “There are still two days left.” He remains in the running for his first championship.
The Youngest Wrestler in the Makuuchi Division
At 21, Atami Fuji is the youngest wrestler in the makuuchi division. Leveraging his 186 cm, 181 kg physique, he has continued a winning streak from the early stages of the tournament, stirring up excitement for the championship battle that will last until the final day. Despite only achieving four wins at last year’s Kyushu tournament where he made his makuuchi debut, he has gained strength through rigorous training in Isegahama stable, known for its tough practices. His relentless efforts, sometimes covered in mud and sometimes shedding tears, have finally paid off.
Rising Popularity and Local Support
His popularity is rapidly growing. According to his support group in his hometown Atami City, Shizuoka, 40 new groups have joined as members during the Autumn Tournament alone. A public viewing hosted by the support group at the city hall is planned for the final day, with the city preparing for the long-awaited moment of their local wrestler. Furthermore, a local popular shop in Atami City, Shizuoka, “Atami Pudding,” which was adopted for his ceremonial apron from this tournament, has promised a delightful reward. If he wins the championship, they plan to deliver 300 puddings as a grand gesture.
Potential Record-Breaking Victory
If the 21-year-old newcomer wins the Emperor’s Cup, he will set a new record for the fastest first-time championship win since the six-tournament per year system was introduced in 1958, with just 18 tournaments since his initial bout. This surpasses the 24 tournaments taken by Takanohana and Asashoryu. Additionally, it would be the first makuuchi championship win by a wrestler from Shizuoka Prefecture, and the second consecutive win in the juryo and makuuchi divisions since Ryogoku in the January and May tournaments of 1914, a feat not achieved in 109 years. It remains to be seen whether he can overcome the pressure and meet local expectations to secure the Emperor’s Cup.
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