His birth name is Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov, but he wrestles under the Sumo name, “Kotooshu,” which is derived from his place of origin–koto (shared by all wrestlers at his stable), and ōshū, an older Sino-Japanese term for Europe.
He hails from Bulgaria.
Just looking at the guy you can see that he is a Powerhouse. He stands 6’7”, weighs 150 (330 lbs). Which you might see as quite small compared to the Traditional Sumo Wrestler. However, he doesn’t boast the Traditional Build of the Traditional Sumo. The previous yokozuna (or grand champion) Akebono, at the same height as Kotooshu, weighed 235 kg (517 pounds). That’s almost a 200 lbs difference!
But, Kotooshu is lean, Muscular, and fast. He more resembles the modern-day football player, than a spokesman for Duncan Donuts.
Bulgaria is world famous for breeding some of the Best Olympic Lifters the world has ever seen. Now it’s got one of the best Sumo wrestlers.
And he’s not the only one! There is also Svetoslav Binev. He was World Champion Amateur Sumo Champion in 1998, 99. Then went on to Coach Bulgaria from total obscurity, to the #2 ranked nation (behind only Japan), in World Sumo. He now Coaches in California.
They both prove that conventional wisdom is often wrong. Science wins out. Tradition says a Sumo must be gigantic, fat. But, they (and the current Yokozuna, Asashoryu) prove that Speed, Power, Strength, and Agility are of the essence.
Fat does not move anything in any direction, but down. And that is the one place a sumo can’t find himself.
The Olympic lifts are Ideally suited to a sport like this. And I suspect they will play a prominent role in the future of the sport.
(Man … all this Bulgaria talk makes me want to eat some yogurt.)