In Japanese sporting circles, mention of the name Endo has, for the past few years, come with images of national soccer team and Gamba Osaka player Yasuhito Endo.
All that is about to change.
Weighing in at 143 kg and standing 184 cm tall Shota Endo is a rikishi bound for the upper echelons of the sport of sumo. Blink and you’ll miss his dash to the top. This lad is in a hurry.
Since he first stepped onto the dohyo at the Osaka Basho in March he has chalked up consecutive 5-2 finishes in the sport’s third division, a hugely impressive 14-1 yusho winning scoreline in juryo, and a cracking 9-5-1 in his first appearance in makunouchi in September.
So fast has been his ascent, so powerful is his sumo that he has understandably drawn more than a few sideways glances. So much so that he is now already being touted as the next Japanese yokozuna.
Few serious sumo watchers will balk at this, even with him in just his fifth career tournament when the action gets underway Sunday in Fukuoka.
Indeed some fans in Japan are already so enamored by Endo they are referring to the chance to see him in action as their prime reason for buying tickets.
Hakuho and the other household names in the sport’s top division are in many ways merely playing walk-on parts in what is increasingly becoming the Endo show!