Photo/IllutrationTochinoshin shoves Shohozan on his way to a win on Jan. 27 that would give him the Emperor's Cup for the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament. (Shogo Koshida)

Unheralded maegashira No. 3 Tochinoshin won his first Emperor's Cup by defeating maegashira No. 9 Shohozan on Jan. 27.

The win gave Tochinoshin, 30, a 13-1 record for the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, sufficiently distancing himself from those wrestlers with the next best records who had already chalked up three losses.

Tochinoshin is the first wrestler from the former Soviet republic of Georgia to win the Emperor's Cup. The last time a maegashira wrestler took the trophy home was in 2012, when Kyokutenho won the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

The victory was welcome news for the Kasugano stable to which Tochinoshin belongs following revelations Jan. 25 that a former young wrestler from its roster had filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for a beating at the hands of an older wrestler.

Tochinoshin was the first Kasugano stable wrestler to win the Emperor's Cup in 46 years.

After his triumph, Tochinoshin said, "I cannot believe that I won. I am very happy."

Battling enormous pressure as he went into the 14th day of the tournament, Tochinoshin said he tried not to think about taking home the Emperor's Cup but concentrate only on his fighting style.

Tochinoshin had a fast start in sumo, but later had to overcome a major injury.

After entering the sumo world in 2006 at 18, Tochinoshin took just two years to join the highest makuuchi division.

However, in the 2013 Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament when he was ranked maegashira No. 11, Tochinoshin injured his right knee badly. At one point, he was demoted to the third highest makushita division.

Only two wrestlers have returned to the makuuchi division to win the Emperor's Cup after being demoted as low as the makushita division.

One was the renowned late yokozuna Chiyonofuji, who was nicknamed "the wolf" for the glint in his eye and his fighting spirit, and the other was the former ozeki Kotokaze.

The sumo world has been rocked by scandal in recent months, culminating in the premature retirement in November of yokozuna Harumafuji for a drunken brawl that left a younger wrestler with severe injuries.

The New Year Grand Sumo Tournament started inauspiciously as two yokozuna, Hakuho and Kisenosato, both pulled out in the first week due to injuries.