Yokozuna Hakuho outflanked nemesis Kisenosato to capture his 27th career title with a day to spare at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday.
The Mongolian won his fourth consecutive championship, moving him within four of yokozuna great Chiyonofuji’s hallowed mark of 31 career titles. Hakuho is alone in third place on the all-time list behind Chiyonofuji and Taiho at 32.
Hakuho was left with a bloody gash and bump above his left eye in the mash-up as he improved to 13-1. Kisenosato, a one-time candidate for sumo’s highest rank, fell to 10-4. It is the second time that Hakuho has won four straight tournaments since he went on a seven-basho winning spree from the 2010 spring meet.
Ringside judges called for a conference in the day’s penultimate bout as it was unclear if Hakuho had used an illegal topknot pull but replays plainly showed that the yokozuna yanked the ozeki down by the head fair and square.
“It looked like I might have pulled the topknot but I knew that my fingers weren’t gripping his hair. There was a conference but I won it,” said Hakuho, who is the fifth wrestler in sumo history to win four straight championships more than once.
Kisenosato famously ended Hakuho’s record-chasing winning streak at 63 bouts at the 2010 Kyushu meet, dashing the yokozuna’s hopes of matching and surpassing Futabayama’s record of 69 set from 1936-1939.
But on this day Hakuho was definitely the cooler of the two, quickly getting his left hand on the ozeki’s mawashi before swatting him forward onto the dirt surface at Ryogoku Kokugikan.
Rival yokozuna Harumafuji tossed aside ozeki Kakuryu (9-5) in the day’s finale to improve to 10-4.
Kotoshogiku (9-5) toppled Aminishiki (9-5) over with a deft underarm throw after a short grappling exchange.
Goeido, who has beaten Hakuho and three ozeki here, barreled forward to force out Takayasu (5-9) en route to his 10th win.
Early on, Ikioi and Toyohibiki were forced to hold a rematch after ringside judges ruled the first bout too close to call. In the second bout, Ikioi prevailed.