Hakuho stays focused on matching Asashoryu’s win total

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho has set his sights on joining retired yokozuna Asashoryu in third place on the all- time championship list with 25 career titles by winning the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.

Hakuho, who won the spring title in March with a perfect 15-0 record, is back on the prestigious east side as the Japan Sumo Association on Thursday released the rankings for the May 12-26 Summer Basho at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“He (Asashoryu) is a wrestler I looked up to and always wanted to wrestle against,” said Hakuho. “Now I am trying to rub shoulders with him.”

Hakuho defeated yokozuna rival Harumafuji on the final day of the Spring Basho for a record ninth perfect championship win, overtaking legends Futabayama and the late Taiho.

The only other mover of note on the “banzuke” rankings list was Okinoumi, who won promotion to komusubi, sumo’s fourth highest rank, after going 11-4 in Osaka.

He is the first wrestler from Shimane Prefecture to break into the sanyaku ranks — the three ranks below yokozuna — in 121 years.