FUKUOKA – Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho got a little help from Kotoshogiku and captured his first Emperor’s Cup since March on Saturday, the penultimate day of the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.
Hakuho secured his 23rd overall championship before his meeting with Kakuryu as ozeki Kotoshogiku in the preceding bout defeated Kyokutenho (10-4), the only wrestler with a mathematical chance of winning the title.
Hakuho (13-1) signed off in style anyway, the yokozuna improving his career mark to 24-2 against Kakuryu (8-6) by taking out his compatriot with an “uwatenage” throw, one of his trademark techniques, at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.
“It feels like it has been a long time. I felt as though I had forgotten how to win championships,” said Hakuho. “But I stayed focused. I have been wrestling well since the first day.”
Harumafuji (9-5) who won the last two tournaments with flawless 15-0 records, was second best in all departments as he attempted to snap a three-bout losing skid and got shoved out by ozeki Kisenosato (10-4).
Hakuho and Harumafuji face off with only yokozuna bragging rights at stake on Sunday.
“I can’t be satisfied just because I have won the tournament and will do my best right until the end,” said Hakuho.
Elsewhere, soccer-style chanting for Shohozan turned into a collective groan as the Fukuoka-born No. 2 maegashira got twisted over to a fifth loss by top-ranked Tochiozan, who continued to impress with a 10th win.
In an earlier bout, 15th-ranked Chiyotairyu sent Gagamaru back to the locker room grimacing in pain after flooring the Georgian with an overarm throw to move into double digits at 10-4. Gagamaru dropped to 8-6.
Back at the top of the rankings, Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu (8-6) touched the dirt first and slumped to a third consecutive loss when he was toppled by sixth-ranked Toyonoshima (9-4).