Sumo

Oshio's career in ring had longevity, but limited success

by John Gunning

Contributing Writer

Without checking, do you know who has fought the most bouts in professional sumo history?

Hakuho has the most wins (by some distance) but the yokozuna has stepped into the ring over 500 times fewer than former komusubi Oshio.

Even if Hakuho continued fighting for another 5½ years without missing a single match, he still wouldn’t equal Oshio’s total number of bouts.

While the Kyushu native didn’t have anywhere close to the same winning percentage as Hakuho when he retired in 1981, his 964 wins were the most all time, and to date only Hakuho, Kaio and Chiyonofuji have surpassed that number.

Oshio was still 13 when he decided to join sumo. He made his debut just after turning 14 and, during his first year as a professional, also attended Ryogoku Junior High School in order to complete his compulsory education.

Despite the fact that in his 26-year career he spent 51 tournaments in the top division and reached sumo’s fourth-highest rank, Oshio didn’t have a lot of success.

The Tokitsukaze stable man won the second-tier juryo title on three occasions, but two special prizes and three gold stars for wins over yokozuna are all he had to show for his efforts in the makuuchi division.

For comparison, that’s less than another komusubi, Hokutofuji, managed in his first year in the top flight.

After retirement, Oshio established Shikihide stable and remained as master there until handing it over to the present incumbent in 2012.

As a stablemaster it took him 19 years to produce a sekitori-level wrestler. That was a modern-day record.

Oshio’s son also joined ōzumō but he only managed to make it as far as the fourth-highest sandanme division and retired after just 12 years in the sport — less than half the length of his father’s career.

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