A day after wrapping up his historic 33rd championship with a perfect record, yokozuna Hakuho said he wants to venture into a new world, while being reminded that in this one, even champions must mind their manners.
In a press conference on Monday, the yokozuna spoke philosophically about his future, while taking a swipe at the judging during the tournament — a remark the Japan Sumo Association refused to ignore.
“I want to set foot in a somewhat different world, a world that is not about wins and losses,” the 29-year Mongolian said after the New Year Grand Sumo concluded with his first perfect record in 10 tournaments.
His 33rd title put him in his own league as he surpassed the 32 championships won by legendary yokozuna Taiho. And during Sunday’s championship interview, he suggested that since he had no goals now in front of him he might consider retiring.
“There probably are people who would like to see me retire, but please give me your heated support for a little while longer,” he said Monday.
Should Hakuho win in March in Osaka, it will be his second six-tournament win streak.
“I have surpassed things that can be numbered, but I don’t believe I yet understand Taiho’s feelings. With experience, perhaps I will know,” he said.
The yokozuna, who is normally the gentlest warrior in a sport of giants, did have some unusually sharp words for the judges’ decision to order a rematch on Friday, when he clinched his historic championship. Hakuho had propelled ozeki Kisenosato from the ring, but both went sprawling.
“When I got back, I looked at the video,” Hakuho said. “It was sumo even a child could understand. Why did they order a do-over? One would like to see a little more focus.”
The JSA, however, did not take the remarks lightly. JSA chairman Kitanoumi indicated he intends to summon Hakuho’s stablemaster Miyagino on Thursday and issue a warning.
“The five judges saw it and made their decision,” Kitanoumi said. “He (Hakuho) should think more carefully before he speaks.
“Regardless, when one has to fight again, one would like to see a more yokozuna-like attitude.”
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