Sumo / Basho Reports

Legend Hakuho captures 37th Emperor's Cup

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho increased his record total of grand sumo tournament championships to 37 on Saturday, when he won the 15-day Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a day to spare.

A day after dodging a bullet to see off previously unbeaten ozeki Kisenosato, the Mongolian master beat compatriot and fellow yokozuna Harumafuji (10-4) to improve to 14-0. Kisenosato followed Hakuho to the raised ring for the day’s final bout, but was easily forced out to his second straight loss.

“I just focused on my bout,” Hakuho said. “It’s been a while since I clinched it in this manner. I’m genuinely glad to win here in Ryogoku (Kokugikan) in Tokyo for the first time in a year and a half.”

Hakuho has now won 28 straight matches since losing on the first day of the March tournament in Osaka, when he snapped a three-tournament title drought.

Two months after infamously evading Harumafuji on the tachiai to wrap up his Osaka title, Hakuho was surprised by a lightning-quick charge and given his second stern test in two days. But like Kisenosato the day before, Harumafuji was unable to exploit his advantage as Hakuho defended with all his might.

After a prolonged stalemate, Hakuho attempted a throw that upset Harumafuji’s balance and made him vulnerable to a frontal force-out to end the day’s longest bout at 41 seconds.

“My elite opponents yesterday and today were both in fine form, but I managed to survive and earn the wins. I’ll give my best tomorrow to try for a perfect record,” Hakuho said.

Kisenosato failed to match his intensity of the day before. Yokozuna Kakuryu (11-3) easily took command of their bout on the initial charge before taking Kisenosato to the edge of the ring and dumping him out.

In other bouts among upper-echelon wrestlers, ozeki Kotoshogiku (9-5) shoved out fourth-ranked maegashira and former sekiwake Yoshikaze (6-8), while Goeido was nearly upset by injury-plagued fellow ozeki Terunofuji (2-12).

Terunofuji, the Mongolian who has not won here since Day 2, came out so hard on the tachiai as he rocked Goeido back to the straw. But Goeido just managed a hasty escape and quickly turned the tables against his less maneuverable foe, improving to 9-5 with a shove-out.

Popular new sekiwake Kotoyuki suffered a heart-breaking eighth defeat, losing to Brazilian komusubi Kaisei (7-7). Kotoyuki had the initiative for most of the match, and repeatedly shoved his much larger opponent back to the straw but could not force him over. The sekiwake regrouped for a final force-out attempt, but Kaisei wriggled to one side and easily ushered his opponent out.

The other sekiwake, Ikioi, fell to 3-11 at the hands of up-and-coming No. 2 maegashira Shodai (6-8).