Hakuho to receive top honor in Mongolia


Yokozuna Hakuho, who became the all-time record holder of the most championships after winning his 33rd career Emperor’s Cup at the New Year Sumo Tournament, revealed on Wednesday he will be feted with the equivalent of Japan’s People’s Honor Award in his homeland of Mongolia.

Hakuho, who took part in a charity sumo event at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan the same day, will follow in the footsteps of former yokozuna Asashoryu as well as his father, Jigjid Munkhbat, a yokozuna great of Mongolian sumo and a silver medalist in freestyle wrestling from the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

“I hear it’s the first time for both a father and son (to receive the award). I am happy,” said Hakuho. “I have already won 33 championships. Now I want to be carefree going forward.”

Hakuho, who will turn 30 on March 11 during the Spring basho at Bodymaker Colosseum in Osaka next month, recently got into hot water for criticizing ringside judges for calling a do-over in his match against ozeki Kisenosato last month. He later apologized.

Hakuho has not touched on the subject since and refused to speak to reporters about it on Wednesday.