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Tochinoshin says winning Grand Sumo Tournament feels 'so good'

Tochinoshin smiles at a news conference following his win in the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, in Tokyo's Sumida Ward on Jan. 29, 2018. (Mainichi)

Sumo wrestler Tochinoshin expressed elation at winning the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament as he faced reporters in a news conference at the Kasugano stable in Tokyo's Sumida Ward on Jan. 29, the day after the end of the competition.

    "This is the first time I've ever felt so good. I'm so happy I can hardly believe it," he said.

    The wrestler, who hails from the country of Georgia, said that he contacted his family after his victory, adding that his wife shed tears of joy.

    Tochinoshin is the first wrestler of the maegashira rank, sumo's fifth-highest rank, to capture a tournament since Kyokutenho did so in 2012. After recording six straight wins from the outset of the tournament, Tochinoshin fell to yokozuna Kakuryu on Day 7, but went on to win the rest of his bouts and achieve a 14-1 record. In addition to his tournament victory, Tochinoshin was honored with the Outstanding Performance prize and the Technique prize.

    When asked what his most memorable bout of the tournament was, Tochinoshin cited his battle with Shohozan on Day 14, which secured his victory in the tournament. "I'll never forget it," he said.

    During the January tournament, a past assault case at the Kasugano stable came to light, but this did not deter Tochinoshin as he surged toward victory.

    The grappler said he was confident as he looked toward the spring tournament in March, when there is a large possibility he will be promoted.

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