Gagamaru Masaru

Gagamaru Masaru
臥牙丸 勝
Gagamaru in Harubasho 2013 IMG 1896-2 20130324.JPG
Gagamaru in 2013
Personal information
Born Teimuraz Jugheli
(1987-02-23) February 23, 1987 (age 34)
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Height 186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 199 kg (439 lb; 31.3 st)
Career
Stable KiseKitanoumi→Kise
Record 516-538-32
Debut November 2005
Highest rank Komusubi (March 2012)
Retired November 2020
Championships 1 (Jūryō)
1 (Makushita)
1 (Jonokuchi)
Special Prizes Fighting Spirit (2)
Gold Stars 1 (Harumafuji)
* Up to date as of November 17, 2020.

Gagamaru Masaru (Japanese: 臥牙丸 勝, born 23 February 1987 as Teimuraz Jugheli (Georgian: თეიმურაზ ჯუღელი)) is a Georgian former professional sumo wrestler from Tbilisi. The third Georgian national after Kokkai and Tochinoshin to make the top makuuchi division, he made his professional debut in November 2005, reaching the jūryō division in November 2009 and makuuchi in July 2010. Originally from Kise stable, he briefly competed for the Kitanoumi stable before moving back to the Kise stable after it was re-established. His highest rank was komusubi. He won two special prizes for Fighting Spirit and was runner-up in one top division tournament. After missing nearly all of 2020 through injury and falling greatly in rank, he announced his retirement during the November 2020 tournament.

Early life and sumo background

Jugheli was born in Tbilisi, he originally trained in judo and sambo, winning national junior championships in both sports by the age of 16.[1] Invited to train by the Georgian junior sumo team, he accompanied them to the 2005 World Junior Sumo Championships in Osaka. (Also on the team was the future Tochinoshin). He came third in the individual and second in the team competition.[1] Staying in Japan after the tournament, he joined Kise stable and made his first professional appearance in November 2005.

Career

He moved quickly through the lower divisions, reaching makushita one year later in November 2006. He had made plans to return home to visit his family, but his father was killed in a car accident.[1] He was determined to honour his father's memory (and emulate his fellow Georgian wrestlers) by reaching sekitori status. This he achieved in September 2009 after winning the makushita division yūshō with a perfect 7–0 record.[2] He paid tribute to his father at a press conference.[2]

Gagamaru came through with a kachi-koshi 8–7 score in his debut jūryō tournament and won the yusho in the following tournament in January 2010 with a 12–3 record. In May he scored 10–5 from the jūryō 1 rank, ensuring promotion to makuuchi. However he made his debut in the top division in July out of a newly enlarged Kitanoumi stable after his old stable was closed due to his stablemaster's Kise Oyakata involvement in a scandal involving selling tournament tickets to alleged yakuza members. Ranked at maegashira 12 he could only manage a 5–10 record, losing his last four bouts, but he remained in the division for the following tournament in September 2010 and produced a winning score of 10–5. In the November tournament in Kyushu he recovered from a 1–5 start to score 9–6, which earned him promotion to a new high of maegashira 6.

Gagamaru at the January 2011 tournament

The January 2011 tournament was not a good one for Gagamaru. Having struggled to a 2–4 record after six days he went out drinking with fellow Georgian wrestler Kokkai and the pair allegedly got into a fight at an Indian restaurant in Tokyo's Sumida ward, causing damage to the property.[3] Both were reprimanded by the Sumo Association for staying out late during a tournament.[3] Gagamaru finished with a poor 5–10 record, resulting in demotion to maegashira 14. In the May Technical Examination Tournament he recovered from 4–7 down to win four in a row and get a winning record. In September 2011 after an opening day loss he then won ten in a row, including an emphatic victory over Baruto in his first ever meeting with an ōzeki.[4] He finished on 11–4 and was awarded his first special prize, for Fighting Spirit. He was promoted to maegashira 3 for the November 2011 tournament, but facing all the top wrestlers for the first time could only win two matches. However he turned things around in the January 2012 tournament, producing his best score to date of 12–3, sharing runner-up honours with yokozuna Hakuhō and two wins behind tournament winner Baruto.[5] He received his second Fighting Spirit prize for this performance.[6] For the March tournament Gagamaru was promoted to komusubi, becoming the first member of Kitanoumi stable to reach the san'yaku ranks since it was established in 1985.[7] He lost his first six matches, but performed better in the second week of the tournament, finishing with a respectable 6–9. As of the May 2012 tournament he once again represented Kise stable after it was permitted to re–open. Ranked at maegashira 2 in May he did defeat ōzeki Harumafuji but otherwise had an unremarkable tournament, finishing on 5–10.

The shikona Gagamaru was derived by the Kise stablemaster, the former Higonoumi, from Jugheli's nickname "Gaga". Since then he has, inevitably, been dubbed "Lady Gaga Maru." Speaking to reporters after the 9th day of the September 2011 tournament, he quipped, "Let me tell you I was called Gaga since the time I was born. The real Gaga is me."[8] Since this time, he has only had one breakout performance, an 11–4 record at maegashira 11 in May 2013. Though he was a fixture in the mid to lower top division ranks for a while, he was relegated to the second division after three losing records in 2014.

Gagamaru returned to the top division at the March 2015 tournament with excellent results. At the following tournament in May he won the first gold star of his career by beating yokozuna Harumafuji on the 10th day. He slipped back into the second division after a run of poor performances in early 2016 but was immediately promoted back to the top ranks after a winning record in July. He lost his top division status once again after the January 2017 tournament, and despite a brief re-appearance in makuuchi July 2017, he remained in the jūryō division. A 6–9 record in September 2018 left him in danger of demotion to makushita for the first time since he became a sekitori in November 2009, and Gagamaru told reporters he would consult his stablemaster before deciding whether to continue wrestling.[9] In the banzuke for November 2018 Gagamaru's rank was confirmed as makushita 1. He earned immediate promotion back to jūryō for January 2019 with a 5–2 record. He spent the rest of 2019 in jūryō but pulled out of the November tournament on Day 13 with only one win, ensuring demotion to makushita again. This absence ended his streak of 1050 matches from his professional debut.

Retirement from sumo

He withdrew from the January 2020 tournament after losing his first two matches, and did not take part in any further tournaments in 2020, his rank falling to jonidan 46. He announced his retirement on Day 10 of the November 2020 tournament.[10] At a press conference he gave chronic knee problems as the reason for his retirement, and said his most memorable matches were his kinboshi win over Harumafuji, and his 2011 win over ōzeki Baruto.[11] Having been in Japan for 15 years, he plans to continue to live in the country.[12]

Fighting style

Gagamaru was an oshi-sumo specialist who mainly employed pushing and thrusting techniques. His most common winning kimarite were oshi-dashi or push out. Peaking at 212 kg in November 2013, he was one of the heaviest men in sumo. He disliked attention being paid to his weight however, and missed several official weigh-ins over the course of his career.[5]

Career record

Gagamaru Masaru [13]
Year in sumo January
Hatsu basho, Tokyo
March
Haru basho, Osaka
May
Natsu basho, Tokyo
July
Nagoya basho, Nagoya
September
Aki basho, Tokyo
November
Kyūshū basho, Fukuoka
2005 x x x x x (Maezumo)
2006 West Jonokuchi #34
7–0
Champion

 
East Jonidan #28
6–1
 
West Sandanme #64
4–3
 
West Sandanme #45
5–2
 
West Sandanme #16
5–2
 
West Makushita #55
6–1
 
2007 West Makushita #24
3–4
 
East Makushita #35
3–4
 
West Makushita #46
4–3
 
East Makushita #39
3–4
 
East Makushita #48
2–5
 
West Sandanme #12
6–1
 
2008 West Makushita #35
4–3
 
West Makushita #27
3–4
 
East Makushita #35
2–5
 
West Makushita #54
4–3
 
West Makushita #43
4–3
 
West Makushita #32
6–1
 
2009 East Makushita #13
6–1
 
East Makushita #3
3–4
 
West Makushita #6
4–3
 
West Makushita #5
3–4
 
East Makushita #10
7–0–P
Champion

 
East Jūryō #14
8–7
 
2010 East Jūryō #13
12–3
Champion

 
East Jūryō #3
8–7
 
West Jūryō #1
10–5
 
East Maegashira #12
5–10
 
East Maegashira #15
10–5
 
East Maegashira #10
9–6
 
2011 West Maegashira #6
5–10
 
East Maegashira #14
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
East Maegashira #14
8–7
 
West Maegashira #7
5–10
 
West Maegashira #11
11–4
F
West Maegashira #3
2–13
 
2012 West Maegashira #10
12–3
F
East Komusubi #1
6–9
 
West Maegashira #2
5–10
 
East Maegashira #7
10–5
 
West Maegashira #2
4–11
 
East Maegashira #7
8–7
 
2013 East Maegashira #4
6–9
 
East Maegashira #6
5–10
 
West Maegashira #11
11–4
 
West Maegashira #2
3–12
 
East Maegashira #9
6–9
 
West Maegashira #13
8–7
 
2014 East Maegashira #12
8–7
 
West Maegashira #9
6–9
 
East Maegashira #14
7–8
 
East Maegashira #15
5–10
 
West Jūryō #3
5–10
 
West Jūryō #5
8–7
 
2015 West Jūryō #2
11–4
 
West Maegashira #15
11–4
 
East Maegashira #6
7–8
West Maegashira #6
6–9
 
East Maegashira #9
6–9
 
East Maegashira #11
8–7
 
2016 West Maegashira #9
7–8
 
East Maegashira #10
5–10
 
East Maegashira #15
6–9
 
East Jūryō #1
8–7
 
East Maegashira #12
5–10
 
East Maegashira #16
8–7
 
2017 East Maegashira #13
5–10
 
East Jūryō #2
7–8
 
East Jūryō #3
9–6
 
East Maegashira #16
3–12
 
West Jūryō #7
5–10
 
East Jūryō #12
10–5
 
2018 West Jūryō #5
8–7
 
East Jūryō #5
8–7
 
West Jūryō #2
4–11
 
West Jūryō #9
7–8
 
East Jūryō #12
6–9
 
East Makushita #1
5–2
 
2019 East Jūryō #14
8–7
 
East Jūryō #8
8–7
 
East Jūryō #7
9–6
 
West Jūryō #2
3–12
 
East Jūryō #10
6–9
 
West Jūryō #12
1–12–2
 
2020 East Makushita #9
0–3–4
 
West Makushita #44
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
East Sandanme #28
Tournament Cancelled
0–0–0
East Sandanme #28
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
West Sandanme #85
Sat out due to injury
0–0–7
East Jonidan #46
Retired
0–0–5
Record given as win-loss-absent    Top Division Champion Top Division Runner-up Retired Lower Divisions

Sanshō key: F=Fighting spirit; O=Outstanding performance; T=Technique     Also shown: =Kinboshi(s); P=Playoff(s)
Divisions: MakuuchiJūryōMakushitaSandanmeJonidanJonokuchi

Makuuchi ranks: YokozunaŌzekiSekiwakeKomusubiMaegashira

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "madorosumaru" (14 January 2009). "Once He Learns More About Sumo, He Will Be Unstoppable". Sumo Forum. Retrieved 22 September 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Georgian sumo wrestler Teimuraz Djugheli (Gagamaru) was promoted to the sekitori status". Embassy of Georgia to Japan. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Sumo wrestlers in restaurant clash". Japan Times. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Yokozuna Hakuho survives close call". Japan Times. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Gunning, John (9 March 2020). "Undervalued Gagamaru has had solid career in raised ring". Retrieved 9 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Sumo: Hakuho denies Baruto perfect record on final day of New Year sumo". Mainichi Daily News. 23 January 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012.
  7. ^ "2012 March Grand Sumo Tournament Banzuke Topics". February 2012. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Jonosuke" (20 September 2011). "Rikishi Talk Day 9 Aki Basho 2011". Sumo Forum. Retrieved 7 November 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "来場所40歳で迎える安美錦、揺れる胸中吐露「いろいろ考えたい」/秋場所" (in Japanese). Sanspo. 23 September 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Sumo: Georgian wrestler Gagamaru to retire". The Mainichi. 17 November 2020. Retrieved 17 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "大相撲 引退の元小結 臥牙丸「最高の15年間だった」". NHK (in Japanese). 18 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "引退の臥牙丸 ジョージアから来日15年、日本愛を語る「ラーメンが大好き。14杯食べると体は作れます」". Hochi (in Japanese). 18 November 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Gagamaru Masaru Rikishi Information". Sumo Reference. Retrieved 2010-09-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links

  • Gagamaru Masaru's official biography (English) at the Grand Sumo Homepage

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