Hakuho earns 12th Emperor’s Cup


Hakuho captured his 12th Emperor’s Cup on Saturday after a gritty win over ozeki Kotomitsuki on the penultimate day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

The Mongolian yokozuna (14-0) was given his sternest test of the 15-day meet in the day’s finale at Fukuoka Kokusai Center, but came through unscathed as he outmuscled Kotomitsuki (8-6) and tossed him to the dirt to preserve his flawless record.

In beating Kotomitsuki, Hakuho also set a new record of 85 wins in a single year. He matched on Friday the previous mark of 84 set by fellow yokozuna Asashoryu in 2005.

“People had been making a fuss about the record before the tournament and I am pleased but I just did what I had to do,” said Hakuho.

The championship title was Hakuho’s third of the year following victories at the spring meet in March and the Nagoya tourney in July.

Surprise package Tochinoshin remained two wins back at 12-2 while Asashoryu’s tournament hit a fresh low when Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu (10-4) bundled the 24-time Emperor’s Cup winner out to a third consecutive defeat after 11 straight wins to start the basho.

Eighth-ranked Georgian maegashira Tochinoshin got both arms around 12th-ranked Shotenro (8-6) and lifted him over the edge of the ring for a 12th win and sole possession of second place.

Ozeki Harumafuji (8-6) ended Toyonoshima’s (11-3) nine-match winning streak by taking the fifth-ranked maegashira down with an overarm throw, but Kaio was overpowered by komusubi Goeido (6-8) and dropped to 7-7.