Osamu “Animal” Watanabe – 189 Straight Victories in Wrestling

From
From “Tokyo Olympics Special Issue_Kokusai Johosha”
  • Byron Nelson won 11 PGA golf tournaments in a row.
  • Rocky Marciano went 49-0 in his boxing career.
  • Guillermo Vilas won 46 tennis matches in a row.
  • Edwin Moses won 122 straight in 400-meter hurdles
  • Cael Sanderson won 159 straight college wrestling matches

But Osamu Watanabe won 189 consecutive wrestling matches, as well as gold in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Watanabe competed in wrestling tournaments in Europe, America, Asia and won every match. He was known as the “Animal” for his strength, and as the “Swiss Watch” for his technique. He dominated in his career, and in the Tokyo Olympics, coming in as the favorite having won the 1962-1963 World Champion in the men’s featherweight freestyle division .

In the end, when Osamu Watanabe (渡辺長武) took down Soviet wrestler, Nodar Khokhashvili, he had won his 186th and final match without a blemish in the loss column. In fact, during the Tokyo Games, Watanabe was not even scored upon.

From the book
From the book “Tokyo Olympiad 1964”

After the Olympics, Watanabe joined a large Japanese advertising firm named Dentsu. Clearly, he had the itch. In 1970, while at Dentsu, he took part in an All-Japan wrestling tournament in which he wrestled once, and won. Make that 187 in a row.

Even more amazing, 18 years later, at the age of 47, 24 years after his triumph in Tokyo, Osamu “Animal” Watanabe represented Japan again at the Seoul Summer Games in 1988. And yes, he won two more…before succumbing to time, losing, and ending a streak that is still unfathomable.

A career record of 189 – 1. Perfect

To watch Watanabe take down Khokhashvili, start watching this video from the 35 second mark.