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Yoshiaki Yatsu
Personal information
Born (1956-07-19) July 19, 1956 (age 67)
Oura, Gunma, Japan
Martial arts career
NationalityJapanese
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight120 kg (265 lb; 18 st 13 lb)
StyleMMA
Wrestling
Ring name(s)Yoshiaki Yatsu
N'Tollah Yatsu
Akiyoshi Tsuya
The Great Yatsu
Billed height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Billed weight120 kg (265 lb)
Trained byHiro Matsuda
DebutDecember 29, 1980
Medal record
Men's freestyle wrestling
Representing  Japan
Asian Games
Gold medal – first place 1978 Bangkok +100 kg

Yoshiaki Yatsu (谷津嘉章 Yatsu Yoshiaki, born July 19, 1956) is a Japanese semi-retired professional wrestler, and former amateur wrestler and mixed martial artist. He is known for being one-half of the first-ever All Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag Team Champions with Jumbo Tsuruta, having won the NWA International Tag Team Championship and the PWF Tag Team Championship, and unifying the two titles.

Amateur wrestling career

1976 Summer Olympics

At the age of 20, Yatsu competed in freestyle wrestling at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. He did not place in the tournament.[1]

1980 Summer Olympics

He would have participated in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but Japan chose to follow the American-led boycott.[2]

Controversial IOC Banishment

In 1986 Yatsu took a hiatus from professional wrestling in order to one last time chase his Olympic dream. However, after winning a Japanese National Championship in the super heavyweight division in 1986 and while training for the 1987 Asian Wrestling Championships, the International Olympic Committee declared that Yatsu was a professional athlete and banned him from not only that competition, but also from the 1988 Summer Olympics.[2] The decision stunned many people, but Yatsu didn't file an appeal.[2]

Professional wrestling career

In 1980, after Japan decided not to send their athletes to take part in the Summer Olympics in Moscow, Yoshi "The Yak" Yatsu garnered a great deal of national attention, when he announced his intention of becoming a professional wrestler.[2] Yatsu worked for the World Wrestling Federation as the Great Yatsu from 1980 to 1981. Within just a few years, Yatsu became a regular headliner for New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), before joining Riki Choshu, when he left the promotion for All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) at the end of 1984.[2] In All Japan Yatsu and Choshu formed a tag team, which would go on to win the NWA International Tag Team Championship.[2]

While Yatsu was training for his Olympic dream, Choshu left All Japan and returned to New Japan.[2] Upon his return to professional wrestling, Yatsu decided not to join his tag team partner in New Japan, but to stay in All Japan.[2] Afterwards, All Japan broke up the tag team of Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta and made Tsuruta Yatsu's new tag team partner.[2] The tag team, known as "The Olympics", would go on to win the World Tag Team Championship five times, the PWF World Tag Team Championship once and in 1987 the team also won the World's Strongest Tag Determination League.[2] In 1990 the team broke up when Yatsu jumped to Super World of Sports.[2] In 1991, while working for the promotion, Yatsu unsuccessfully challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship.[2] When Super World of Sports folded in 1992, Yatsu formed his own promotion Social Pro Wrestling Federation (SPWF), but would wrestle himself only semi-regularly.[2] In 1994 he returned to New Japan to take part in the G1 Climax tournament.[2]

In recent years, Yatsu has been the president of a transportation company.[2] On November 30, 2010, he returned to the professional wrestling ring to wrestle his retirement match.[2] The match took place in front of 500 fans at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo, and saw Yatsu and Koji Ishinriki losing to Tatsumi Fujinami and Tiger Mask, when Yatsu submitted to Fujinami.[2]

In September 2015, Yatsu came out of retirement to team with his son Teriyaki Yatsu and began competing for smaller promotions. In April 2019, he debuted for Dramatic Dream Team (DDT).

In 2021, nearly 2 years since he had his right leg amputated he returned to the ring as part of the 15-person gauntlet battle royal match at CyberFight's CyberFight Festival 2021.

Mixed martial arts career

After spending multiple years out of the spotlight, Yatsu, aged 44, received a big money offer to fight for mixed martial arts promotion Pride Fighting Championships.[2] On October 31, 2000, Yatsu faced Gary Goodridge in Osaka.[2] Yatsu, who hadn't had any stand-up training at all and hadn't competed outside of professional wrestling in 13 years, was defeated at 8:58 in the first round.[2] Despite being dominated, Yatsu received a standing ovation from the crowd due to the amount of damage he absorbed without quitting, even trying a leglock at a point.[2] The two were booked in a rematch on September 24, 2001.[2] Goodridge again dominated the fight, got Yatsu in a guillotine choke and asked for his corner to throw in the towel, which they did.[2]

In December 2015, he became a supervisor for DEEP.

Personal life

In 1991, at the age of 35, Yatsu was diagnosed with diabetes. On June 25, 2019, Yatsu underwent an operation to amputate his right leg below the knee, as bacteria had entered his bloodstream and his right toe was progressively necrotic.[3]

Championships and accomplishments

Amateur wrestling

Professional wrestling

  • IWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Goro Tsurumi

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
2 matches 0 wins 2 losses
By knockout 0 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0-2 Gary Goodridge TKO (corner stoppage) Pride 16 September 24, 2001 1 3:03 Osaka, Japan
Loss 0-1 Gary Goodridge TKO (punches) Pride 11 - Battle of the Rising Sun October 31, 2000 1 8:58 Osaka, Japan

Submission grappling record

Result Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Notes Loss Ricco Rodriguez Points ADCC 2001 +99 kg 2001

References

  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Yoshiaki Yatsu". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai Meltzer, Dave (December 6, 2010). "Dec 6 2010 Wrestling Observer Newsletter". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, CA: 20–23. ISSN 1083-9593.
  3. ^ "荒武者レスラー谷津嘉章、糖尿病で「右足切断」を告白". Smart Flash. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  4. ^ "All-Japan Other Tournaments". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. ^ Saalbach, Axel. "Yoshiaki Yatsu". Wrestlingdata.com. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  6. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Texas: WCWA Television Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 396. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  7. ^ "World Class Television Title". Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved November 19, 2016.