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Ring name(s) Toyonobori
Real name Sadano Michiharu
Billed height 174 cm (5 ft 8+12 in)
Billed weight 114 kg (250 lb; 18.0 st)
Born 1931/3/21(1931-03-21)
Kanada, Fukuoka
Died 1998/7/1 (aged 67)
Shishō Rikidōzan
Debut 1954/11
Retired 1973

Michiharu Sadano (定野 道春?), known as Toyonobori (豊登?), was a Japanese rikishi, professional wrestler, and promoter.



In sumō

Sadano debuted in ōzumō in 1947/6. Eventually, he was given a shikona "Toyonobori", which he would continue to use in his puroresu career. He won the championship in the jūryō division in 1953/9. He moved up to makuuchi in 1954/3 and competed in three tournaments, but due to a conflict with his boss, he left the sport.

In professional wrestling

On 1954/12/12 he became a professional wrestler, joining the Japan Pro-Wrestling Association.

The top wrestler of JWA was Rikidōzan, the founder of the promotion who dominated the puroresu scene; therefore, few Japanese wrestlers were able to come to the spotlight.

Teaming with Rikidōzan, Toyonobori was one of the main eventers. Together they won the All Asia Tag Team Championship.

After Rikidōzan's death on 1963/12/15, Toyonobori, along with Yoshinosato, Endō Kōkichi, Yoshimura Michiaki announced their intention to continue the JWA on 1964/1/10, and Toyonobori became the president and top star of the promotion.

He formed two successful tag teams with Yoshimura and then Giant Baba, winning the All Asia Tag Team Championship three more times.

On 1964/12/12, Toyonobori won the WWA World Heavyweight Championship, defeating The Destroyer at the Tōkyō Gym. Since Rikidōzan was a Korean, Toyonobori was technically the first Japanese to win a world heavyweight title.

Eventually, his partners: Yoshinosato, Endō, and Yoshimura decided to push Baba as the next top draw. Toyonobori would later be expelled from the organization, and Yoshinosato would take over as the company president.

Toyonobori convinced the young Antonio Inoki, who was jealous with Baba's push, to join him to start a new promotion: Tōkyō Pro-Wrestling. Tōkyō Pro would not last long and eventually starts co-promoting with another new organization Kokusai Puroresu (IWE) before fading out. Inoki returned to JWA in 1967. Toyonobori continued to wrestle for the IWE, where he, teaming with Kobayashi Shōzō, held IWA World Tag Team Championship.

Although he once retired on 1970/2/11, he wrestled on the first card of Inoki's New Japan Pro-Wrestling on 1973/3/6 and continued to compete in the new promotion until it reached a television deal with NET (today's TV Asahi) in the following year. This was due to the fact that Toyonobori, who had a big fallout with Inoki in Tokyo Pro, wanted to help Inoki to reconcile.

After suffering diabetes for several years, he passed away in 1998 due to heart failure.

See also

List of rikishi-turned pro-wrestlers

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