Hakuho captures 39th title of career

Kyodo

Hakuho outlasted fellow Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji to capture a record-extending 39th career championship on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Hakuho, who topped the all-time wins list with his 1,048th victory on Friday, broke a mid-ring stalemate and came out on top of an epic tussle by ousting Harumafuji (11-4) with a frontal crush-out at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Hakuho wrapped up the tourney with a 14-1 mark, one win ahead of Bulgarian No. 8 maegashira Aoiyama.

“I lost on the 11th day, but the way I turned back the tide after that was in my head so I was able to get in the ring relaxed today,” Hakuho said.

“To be able to break (former ozeki) Kaio’s 1,047 (career wins) record and (yokozuna legend) Chiyonofuji’s 1,045 mark at the same tournament is gratifying.

“I’d like to go back to my hometown and rest up tomorrow, but the thing in my head right now is (the next goal of) 1,000 wins in makuuchi (the top division).”

Aoiyama finished with a flourish, quickly yanking down komusubi Yoshikaze (9-6) by the back of his neck for his 13th win.

Aoiyama’s impressive form earned him the Fighting Spirit Prize, one of three awards the Japan Sumo Association gives to wrestlers at the end of a meet.

Sekiwake debutant Mitakeumi ended things with a 9-6 mark after blasting out sixth-ranked Onosho (10-5).

Mitakeumi, who handed Hakuho his only defeat of the basho, was awarded the Outstanding Performance Prize for the second straight meet.

“I didn’t think I would be able to win this award twice in a row so I am pleased,” said Mitakeumi.

“It was good that I was able to wrestle my brand of sumo at this tournament, win on the last day and also get a victory against Hakuho.”

Onosho finished at 10-5 in only his second tournament in makuuchi.

Takayasu claimed ozeki bragging rights by slapping down Goeido (7-8) to close out his first appearance at sumo’s second-highest rank with a 9-6 record.