Sumo

Former komusubi Haguroiwa dies at 70

KYODO

Former komusubi Haguroiwa, most famously known for snapping yokozuna Taiho’s then-second-longest 45-bout winning streak in March 1969, passed away Sunday morning of kidney failure, the Japan Sumo Association said Monday. He was 70.

His birth name Tomojiro Toda, the Miyazaki native beat Taiho in controversial fashion on the second day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament 47 years ago.

Taiho was initially declared the winner of the bout, but ringside judges overturned the ruling, halting the yokozuna’s run. However, photos and footages later showed Haguroiwa, then wrestling under his family name, stepping out a split second before Taiho as the fight went on to be dubbed the “error of the century.”

The Japan Sumo Association introduced video replays the following year to rule on close calls. Taiho, however, reportedly never complained about the call.

Haguroiwa made his debut at the 1961 Summer Basho, reaching the fourth-highest rank of komusubi. He retired after the New Year tourney to end his 17-year career.

Haguroiwa became stablemaster Ikazuchi and served as a member of the refereeing committee before leaving the JSA in June 2011 due to mandatory retirement.