Kotooshu Katsunori is a former professional Bulgarian sumo wrestler.
He was born in Dzhulyunitsa, Veliko Tarnovo Province, and made his debut in November 2002.
Kotooshu has won one top division championship and has five special prizes.
In addition, the sumo wrestler reached the top division as rikishi within two years of his debut.
He is also the first European rikishi to win the Emperor’s Cup in 2008.
|Former Name(s)||Kaloyan Stefanov Mahlyanov|
|Japanese Name/ Shikona||Kotooshu Katsunori|
|Real Name||Ando Karoyan|
|Birth Date||February 19, 1983|
|Age||39 Years Old|
|Birth Place||Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria|
|Education||Bulgarian National Sports Academy, Nippon Sport Science University|
|Height||In Centimeters – 203 cm
In feet and inches – 6 ft 8 in
|Weight||In Kilograms – 153 Kg
In Pounds – 337 lbs
|Martial Status||Married since 2010|
|Children||son, Kiril Ando|
|Hair Color||Dark Brown|
|Elder name||Naruto Oyakata|
|Stable as wrestler||Sadogatake|
|Stable as coach||Naruto|
|Highest Rank||Ozeki (January 2006)|
|Championships||4 (only 1 in the top division)|
|Record||537W – 337L -67A|
|Favorite Grip||Tsuko Oshi|
|Favorite Technique||Yorikiri, Oshidashi|
|Last Updated||May, 2022|
Kotooshu Katsunori: Early Life
Kotooshu Katsunori, initially known as Kaloyan Stefanov, was the second son of the family out of four.
Stefanov was involved in sports since his younger days. For instance, he enjoyed playing soccer as a striker.
Despite enjoying soccer, he was only allowed to play as a goalkeeper because he had a large physique.
Therefore, Stefanov decided to move to wrestle. His father taught him the basics of wrestling by the age of five.
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The transition from wrestling to sumo
He won a European championship in Greco-roman wrestling by the age of 14.
As a result, he was accepted by the Bulgarian National Sports Academy, where he majored in wrestling.
Stefanov dreamt of representing Bulgaria in the Olympics and also looked like to do so.
However, he failed to maintain his weight below 120kg and could not achieve his goal.
As a result, he started to pursue a career in sumo. Similar to wrestling, he made a successful run in sumo.
He competed in the European Sumo Championships, where he became third in both individual and group categories.
Later, he participated and won the German Sumo Championship in 2001. Meanwhile, former yokozuna Kotozakura was also present in the tournament for scouting.
Kotozakura was impressed not only by Stefanov’s performance but also with his duty of sending money home.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Career
After his impression, Oyakata Sadogatake took him under his wing in his Sadogatake stable.
Stefanov made his professional debut in November 2002. He started from the lowest-ranked division under the stage name or shikona of Kotooshu.
Kotooshu is a combined name, where ‘koto’ is from his stable and ‘Oshu,’ meaning Europe.
Kotooshu sped through the Junokuchi division with a championship win and a perfect 7-0 record.
Similarly, he passed through the jonidan and sandanme division after making three consecutive 6-1 records.
He continued to make impressive records in the makushita division. The sumo wrestler made it to the higher ranks with two consecutive 5-2 scores and a 6-1 score.
Later in a tournament, he won all seven matches and secured a promotion to the Juryo division.
As a result, he was in the second-highest division in 2004. Additionally, it was within two years of his debut in 2002.
Kotooshu finished his debut juryo tournament with an impressive double-digit 10-5 record in May 2004.
Similarly, he continued his impressive run in the following tournament with a 13-2 record. As a result, he was the Juryo division champion.
The wrestler also earned a promotion to the top division of sumo in 2004.
Kotooshu was very impressive in his run to makuuchi. However, he made it to makuuchi only after 11 tournaments from his debut.
In addition, he was the fastest to rise since the introduction of the six tournaments per year system in 1958.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Makuuchi
Kotooshu continued his strong run in the makuuchi division with an impressive 9-6 record in the September tournament.
In addition, he received his first special prize in the following tournament with an 11-4 record.
His impressive run did not stop as he earned a promotion to a higher rank of komusubi with a 9-6 record in the next tournament.
Finally, Kotooshu suffered his first loss with a record of 4-11 in his higher rank debut. Subsequently, he also faced demotion to the lower ranks, maegashira.
However, he retained his status in the higher rank in the July 2005 tournament with a 10-5 record.
In his return tournament, Kotooshu ended the run of consecutive bout victories of yokozuna Asashoryu.
Kotooshu ended Asashoryu’s streak of 24 victories with an overarm throw. As a result, he won an “outstanding performance” sansho prize.
He also ended the tournament as the runner-up with a 12-3 record behind Asashoryu.
In addition, he was promoted to sekiwake in the following tournament in September.
The sumo wrestler finished the first twelve matches in the tournament with an exceptional 13-2 record.
However, he could not defeat Asashoryu in the playoff bout for victory and only came as the runner-up.
He continued his runner-up performance in the November 2005 tournament with an 11-4 record.
He also recorded another victory against yokozuna Asashoryu in the tournament.
As a result, Kotooshu earned the promotion to the rank of ozeki after the tournament. Meanwhile, his stablemaster, Kotozakura, also retired.
He recorded the most rapid rise for a wrestler in sumo from the bottom Junokuchi division.
Only after 19 tournaments from his professional debut did Kotooshu earn his promotion to Ozeki.
In addition, he is the first European-born wrestler to hold the rank and only the fifth non-Japanese to obtain it.
After his promotion to ozeki, he could not continue his substantial rise in ranks due to injuries.
He received criticisms for using the Henka technique as the move is not considered worthy of the ozeki rank.
Kotooshu could not make significant records for a few years in ozeki rank. In addition, he almost lost his status due to injuries at the end of 2007.
However, he successfully preserved his ozeki rank with a 9-6 score in January 2008.
Again in May 2008 tournament, he needed eight wins to hold his ozeki rank.
Under the pressure of losing his rank, Kotooshu delivered strong results. He won 12 consecutive bouts.
These bouts included victories against yokozuna Asashoryu and yokozuna Hakuho.
However, Aminishiki easily defeated him on the 13th bout. But Kotooshu came back strong and won his remaining two matches.
As a result, Kotooshu won his first top division championship and became the first European to win the top division.
In addition, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov congratulated him, and his father also witnessed his victory.
Stuck at Ozeki
Despite an impressive 14-1 record in his previous tournament, Kotooshu could not follow up his victory run for yokozuna promotion.
He made an impressive run in 2009. He scored 10-5 in the first two tournaments and scored 9-6 in the third tournament.
The sumo wrestler ended yokozuna Hakuho’s streak of 33 match wins on the 14th day of the third tournament in 2009.
He also finished runner-up in July 2009 with an impressive 13-2 score. However, he could not win the championship.
Despite failing to win more than ten bouts in any tournaments after that, he maintained his ozeki rank till January 2014.
After multiple injuries and failing promotion to the higher rank, he faced relegation to the sekiwake rank at the January 2014 tournament.
He could not achieve immediate promotion back to ozeki with a required 10-5 win as he suffered 6th loss on the 13th day of the January tournament.
He was an ozeki for a record 47 tournaments, which is the fourth-highest in sumo history.
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Kotooshu Katsunori: Injuries
Kotooshu faced his first injury on his knee after his promotion to ozeki. The injury slowed him after an impressive rise to the ozeki rank.
He again dislocated his knee shortly before November 2007 tournament. As a result, he pulled out on the 7th day of the tournament.
Later in March 2008, he injured his left arm in a match on the 4th day. He withdrew on the 9th day of the tournament with only two wins due to injury.
With multiple injuries in a short time, Kotooshu was under the pressure of being demoted to lower ranks.
However, instead of demotion, he won the following tournament to record his first top division championship with a 14-1 record.
The sumo wrestler had an above-average run till May 2011 without any injuries keeping a high win-to-lose ratio.
He also finished runner-up in July 2009 tournament, just missing the championship on the final day.
On the 11th day of the May tournament, he pulled out due to a knee injury. However, he returned later in July to preserve his ozeki rank, finishing 9-6.
Kotooshu had to withdraw from a tournament again due to an ankle ligament injury on the last day. Meanwhile, the crowd showed displeasure for his withdrawal decision.
After that, he continued to suffer numerous injury problems. As a result, he had to withdraw from September 2012 tournament.
Additionally, he also withdrew from the March, September, and November tournaments in 2013.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Retirement and Naruto Stable
Kotooshu missed numerous tournaments due to multiple injuries in a short period.
Additionally, he could not continue in top form due to the injuries.
So, the wrestler decided to retire after a devastating nine losses in a row in the March 2014 tournament.
After retirement, Kotooshu stayed in sumo as an elder of the sumo association.
Later, he acquired the elder license in 2015 and began as a coach at Sadogatake stable.
His elder name was Naruto which was also the name of his stable later on.
He opened his stable of wrestlers in April 2017 under the name ‘Naruto,’ becoming the first European-born to do so.
The stable started with three wrestles. Kotooshu was also eager to develop original training methods of his own based on his experience and studies.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Personal Life and Awards
A Japanese dairy company sells a series of yogurt products under the name of Bulgaria Yogurt.
Because of the product, Kotooshu often appears in TV commercials for yogurt products.
In addition, the Japanese audience calls him sumo David Beckham because of his good looks.
However, the sumo himself does not feel pleasure towards the nickname.
Kotooshu obtained Japanese nationality in 2014. He also changed his name to Karoyan Ando. He won two awards in 2005 and 2006.
First, he was named Athlete Number 1 in Veliko Tarnovo district. Later, he obtained the title “Honorary Citizen of Lyaskkovets.”
The wrestler also became the goodwill ambassador to Japan of the European Union in 2006.
He later obtained the prestigious Order of Stara Planina on July 28, 2009, after winning the top division championship in 2008.
In addition, the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, himself awarded the state honors to Katooshu.
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Kotooshu Katsunori: Family
Kotooshu has high dedication towards his family. He sent money to his parents in Bulgaria.
After his father got in a traffic accident, his sense of duty to help with the household introduced him to sumo wrestling.
In May 2009, Kotooshu got engaged to 29 year old Asako Ando. She is from Ichinomiya, Aichi, Japan.
They had a five-year relationship before their marriage. In addition, it was a long-distance romance between Chiba and Aichi.
They married on Valentine’s Day in 2010 at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo. In addition, around 600 guests, including yokozuna Hakuho attended the wedding.
After the wedding, Kotooshu acquired the surname of his wife. As a result, his official name became Karoyan Ando.
Initially, the couple had plans to have a second ceremony in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, they had to cancel the plans due to his knee injury.
Later towards the end of 2011, they welcomed their first son named Kiril Ando in November.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Social Media
He is only active on Twitter. Moreover, he joined Twitter in April 2018.
Moreover, the sumo wrestler mostly tweets about wrestling and mainly expresses his thoughts.
Kotooshu Katsunori: Net Worth
He was a very successful Samurai. In addition, he has also appeared in various advertisements.
Kotooshu Katsunori has earned a net worth of over $5 million.
What was Kotooshu Katsunori’s fighting style?
Kotooshu used his long arms and quick footwork to counteract his high center of gravity and lightweight.
He mainly relied on belt throws to win his matches. In addition, he preferred left-hand inside grip on his opponent’s belt despite being right-handed.
His most common winning technique was the forceout, followed by the outer arm throw.
How many championships did Kotooshu Katsunori win?
Katsunori won a total of four championships. However, only one of them was in the top division.
The sumo wrestler had won the other three championships in lower divisions, each in a different division; in Jonokuchi in 2003 and later in Juryo and Makushita in 2004.
What are the things Kotooshu Katsunori enjoys?
Kotooshu’s favorite color is blue, and his favorite food is ramen. He loves to visit Hokkaido and Okinawa.
The sumo wrestler heavily dislikes gambling since he lost ten dollars to a casino slot machine. However, he loves playing golf.
Moreover, he is also a big fan of singer Ayaya.