Japan Sumo Association Chairman Kitanoumi died of multiple organ failure resulting from rectum cancer at a Fukuoka hospital in southwestern Japan at 6:55 p.m. Friday (9:55 a.m. GMT). He was 62.
Kitanoumi, whose real name was Toshimitsu Obata, was born in Sobetsu in Hokkaido, northernmost Japan. He made a sumo ring debut in 1967 at the age of 13 as a wrestler of the Mihogaseki stable.Using his superb techniques including overarm throw, Kitanoumi struck many records as the youngest wrestler as he climbed up rungs of the sumo ladder.
In 1971, he joined the juryo lower elite sumo division when he was 17 years and 11 months old.
He was promoted to the makuuchi top division next year at the age of 18 years and seven months. He made it to the top three ranks just below yokozuna grand champion in 1973 when he was 19 years and seven months old.
Source: Jiji Press Image: Kyodo
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