Asashoryu claims record 7th straight Emperor’s Cup


Mongolian grand champion Asashoryu made sumo history on Saturday when he defeated ozeki Kaio to become the first wrestler to capture seven consecutive Emperor’s Cups by winning the title at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

News photo
Yokozuna Asashoryu receives prize money after clinching his record seventh straight Emperor’s Cup at the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka on Saturday.

The fiery Mongolian bounced back from Friday’s shock defeat to Kotooshu and coolly forced out Kaio (9-5) before his eyes quickly welled up with tears after the penultimate-day win at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.

“I’ve done it,” Asashoryu said in an emotional post-match interview. “As soon as I got forward I felt I’d won it. I just had to stay calm and something inside me kept pushing me.

“As a wrestler, to win today was more important than anything else,” he said.

Asashoryu (13-1), who has lost only six bouts in 2005, also set a new record of 83 wins in a year, surpassing the previous record of 82 set by former yokozuna Kitanoumi in 1978.

The 25-year-old from Ulan Bator, who equaled the Kitanoumi’s 82-win mark on Thursday, is also the first wrestler to win all six tournaments in a single year.

Kotooshu, who lost in a playoff to Asashoryu in the autumn meet, proved he is a worthy candidate for ozeki promotion when he sent Chiyotaikai sprawling to knock the ozeki out of the title race and leave both men on 11-3.

Elsewhere, komusubi Hakuho (8-6) could do little to stop former ozeki Dejima (5-9) from barging him out for a sixth defeat, while sekiwake Kotomitsuki (8-6) was also helpless as Kokkai cranked out an eighth win with a beltless arm throw.