NAGOYA – A day after capturing his third career win in a dramatic showdown with yokozuna Hakuho, ozeki Harumafuji’s adrenaline was still pumping on full blast.
The Mongolian ozeki, who beat Hakuho in the finale of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday to claim his first title with a perfect 15-0 record and third overall, said Monday he still finds it hard to believe that he pulled off such an incredible feat.
It was the first time in 29 years that two 14-0 wrestlers faced off on the final day to decide the championship.
“I can’t get rid of this intense feeling,” said the 28-year-old Harumafuji at press conference held at the Isegahama stable’s facility in Nagoya.
“I have witnessed wrestlers get undefeated championship titles and heard of them, of course, but actually doing it myself. . .” he continued in a loss for words.
Harumafuji will take his third shot at promotion to sumo’s highest rank of yokozuna at the autumn basho in September.
Making his first challenge at the 2009 Nagoya basho, he lost two bouts in the early going, and dashed all hope of a move up the ladder at the 2011 autumn meet after falling in three of his first five bouts. He is hoping to exorcise those demons.
“I am totally focused on the next tournament. I will make efforts every day to train my body and mind,” he said.