Tokitenku Retires, Becomes Sumo Elder

The Japan Sumo Association has announced that Tokitenku, a longtime maegashira, will retire and become a sumo elder.

Born the son of a Mongolian wrestler, Tokitenku took part in sumo during college, winning the under 100 kg collegiate championships. He joined the Tokitsukaze stable just before turning 23. It took him just 12 tournaments to reach the top division, the second-fastest rise since 1958, when the six-tournaments-a-year format was introduced.

Tokitenku participated in 63 grand sumo tournaments, including three at the rank of komusubi. He has won five championships — two at Juryo and one each at Sandanme, Jonidan and Jonokuchi.

Tokitenku obtained Japanese citizenship in January 2014, that way he could become a sumo elder upon retirement. Last fall, he was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma, which influenced his decision to retire. His status as a sumo elder with his stable was officially recognized by the Japan Sumo Association yesterday.

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