| Last updated
The second heaviest sumo wrestler of all time has revealed the brutal training regime he had to follow to get to the top, as well as explaining how he only ate two meals each day during the height of his career.
Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e, better known by his wrestling moniker Konishiki Yasokichi, was cherry-picked from Hawaii as an 18-year-old and plunged into the world of sumo.
To say it was a culture shock would be to do it an injustice, but the young Konishiki quickly rose through the ranks and eventually won the respect of those into whose world he had been introduced.
Now, ahead of a new Rakuten TV streaming series entitled The Giants, telling the story of the great foreigners who have made their name in sumo, Konishiki has revealed how he found his way from Hawaii to the top division of the quintessential Japanese martial art.
Weighing in at 633lbs or 287kg, Konishiki was - at the time - the heaviest sumo ever to take part in the sport.
He also won the top division championship on three occasions and came agonisingly close to becoming the first foreigner to become grand champion, or Yokozuna.
That's all because he was willing to put in the hard yards, immersing himself into the culture and ethic of top-level sumo.
It sounds pretty tough.
He told LADbible: "When I started in my first six months, I was up at 4.30am training.
"I'd train from 5.00am until maybe 12, then after that is done, we did all our chores.
"We'd cook, we'd clean, we would prepare the beds for the senior guys, and after that you'd have a meal at six 'o clock.
"There's two meals per day.
"After a major tournament, we'd go on tours that lasted for about a month, [then] we'd come back and get ready for another tournament.
"Sumo doesn't have an off-season, it's all year round. That's the toughest thing to get used to."
He continued: "I used to get up in the morning and I used to bleed from my nose and my throat, I guess because of stress.
"Your body takes so much and it wasn't used to it.
"Mentally, you're trying to understand and learn the language and culture at the same time.
"You didn't even have time to really think, you just had to just do it, make mistakes, learn from it and move on."
The two meals each day would usually consist of Chanko Nabe, which is a hearty stew that would come with vegetables and rice, and sometimes with meat.
According to Konishiki, those who weren't good at gaining weight would be forced to eat bowl after bowl during their meal times by the senior wrestlers.
"We'd eat a lot of rice with it, [especially] the guys who need to gain weight," he explained.
"You'd have the senior guys watching the young guys and they'd have to sit there and eat like six, seven, eight, or 10 bowls.
"If you're skinny, that's the hardest thing you've got to do because they're forcing you to eat.
"It's just a lot of food.
"I was the biggest guy, but I had a lot of guys in my stable who I felt sorry for, because they ate 10 bowls of Chanko Nabe and couldn't gain weight.
"You'd have all these guys picking on them left and right."
Despite the hardship, and the tough schedule and training, Konishiki has no regrets about leaving Hawaii to seek a new life in Japan aged just 18.
He concluded: "It's an honour.
"Every bit of it, heart, blood, sweat, tears, all the sacrifices I've made were worth it.
"Sumo has always been great to me."
Brand new docuseries The Giants airs exclusively and for free on 22 July on Rakuten TV.
Featured Image Credit: Rakuten
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read