Georgian wrestler Levan Gorgadze is two wins away from claiming the major Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament champion’s title after defeating his latest opponent on Friday.
Gorgadze (known in the sumo community as Tochinoshin) claimed a win against fellow competitor Ichinojo, keeping his lead in the standings.
Following the victory, Tochinoshin is first in the rankings with 12 wins against a single defeat.
The Georgian-born athlete first took the lead in the the January competition, also known as The Emperor’s Cup, after his win against Tamawashi on Thursday, combined with a loss for his principal opponent Kakuryu.
The 30-year old would become the first Georgian wrestler to win the competition, recognised as the most prestigious in sumo and usually dominated by local athletes.
The significance of the prospect was underlined with a tweet from Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili in support of the wrestler on Friday:
Running from January 14-28, the Grand Sumo Tournament will host two more days of competition, with Tochinoshin set to face Shohozan on Saturday’s Day 14. The tournament will close on Sunday.
Born in Mtskheta, Georgia, Gorgadze has competed in 71 basho tournaments in sumo since 2006. He has won three Juryo Division Championships and two Makushita Division Championships.
The full statistics of Tochinoshin’s performances can be viewed on his profile page here.