Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho defeated ozeki Terunofuji on Saturday to capture a record-extending 38th career title with a day to spare at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament.
Starting the day with a two-win cushion, Hakuho outlasted his countryman in a tightly contested bout at Ryogoku Kokugikan to improve his record to 14-0.
The championship was Hakuho’s first since winning this tournament last year with a perfect 15-0 mark.
Hakuho was making his comeback at this tournament having missed most of the March basho due to toe and thigh injuries.
“It’s been a while since I have been in the championship interview room,” smiled Hakuho. “(Because of injuries) I have had rehab and had to build up my body and finally (I have won again).
“I took each bout as it came and I think I wrestled well. Hopefully I’ll finish off on the right note tomorrow.”
Terunofuji (11-3) gave as good as he got as the pair shoved each other back and forth after a couple of brief stalemates. But Hakuho drew back and spotted an opening to get both arms around the ozeki before muscling Terunofuji over the edge.
Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji suffered a second straight defeat, getting slapped to the dirt by ozeki Goeido (9-5) in the day’s last bout to drop to 11-3
Takayasu virtually sealed promotion to ozeki with his 11th win in Friday’s bout against Harumafuji, but the sekiwake dropped to 11-3, crushed out by fifth-ranked maegashira Shodai (9-5).
In order to qualify for promotion to the sport’s second-highest rank, Takayasu came into the meet needing a minimum of 10 wins for a total of 33 over three straight tournaments.
Sekiwake Kotoshogiku gave his losing mark a little more respectability, driving out third-ranked maegashira Daieisho (3-11) for an easy sixth win.