Sumo / Basho Reports

Hakuho wins record 41st title

Kyodo

Yokozuna Hakuho made history twice at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament on Saturday, claiming a record 41st Emperor’s Cup with his 1,000th victory in the sport’s top division.

The 33-year-oldimproved to an unassailable 14-0 record by beating ozeki Goeido on Day 14 of the 15-day tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan, becoming the only wrestler to reach 1,000 wins in the process.

The closest any wrestler has come to Hakuho’s top-division record is former ozeki Kaio, who retired in 2011 with 879 wins in the makuuchi division.

In the final bout of the day, Hakuho quickly established his favored left-hand grip, maneuvering Goeido (11-3) toward the outside of the ring before sending him tumbling to the clay with an overarm throw.

The all-time championship record holder said the latest title, his first for the year, was one of his sweetest. It follows an injury-plagued run of five tournaments without a crown.

“I’ve been prone to injury as I’ve gotten older,” Hakuho said. “That’s why it’s taken me so long to get to this championship. And that’s why it’s more precious.”

Hakuho admitted the 1,000-win milestone had weighed heavily on his mind ahead of the tournament.

“Even before the tournament began, I started out aiming for my 1,000th victory,” he said. “I didn’t imagine I would ever be able to get to such a great record. Now I’m the only person in sumo history to do it and it feels great.”

Goeido started the day alongside fellow ozeki Takayasu as one of only two wrestlers mathematically capable of catching Hakuho.

Takayasu, however, saw his hopes of a maiden tournament victory disappear at the hands of the winner of the previous meet, sekiwake Mitakeumi.

Mitakeumi (8-6) secured an inside grip at the jump and twisted Takayasu (11-3) into an awkward posture before driving him toward the straw. The powerful ozeki fought back and pushed Mitakeumi to the edge, but the sekiwake sent Takayasu tumbling over and out.

In a battle of yokozuna, Kisenosato (10-4) defeated Kakuryu (10-4), forcing him out after the pair locked each other in an upper body hold.

Kakuryu gained a hold on Kisenasato after the initial collision, but the Japanese yokozuna held a defensive position and bided his time before launching his decisive drive toward the straw.

Komusubi Takakeisho (8-6) secured a winning record after pulling No. 5 maegashira Myogiryu to the clay. It marked the first time the 22-year-old would finish a tournament with a majority of wins since his promotion to the sanyaku ranks below yokozuna.

Ozeki Tochinoshin (8-6) ensured he would continue at the second-highest rank by beating No. 4 Abi (6-8) with an underarm throw.

Having forfeited the previous tournament with a foot injury, the powerfully built Georgian entered the current meet with kadoban provisional status and needed a winning record to avoid demotion.

He made short work of Abi, quickly lifting the up-and-coming youngster by his belt and tossing him to the ground.

Sekiwake Ichinojo (7-7) moved within one victory of a winning record by slapping down No. 3 Shodai. Following a heavy collision at the jump, the biggest man in the division quickly sent Shodai (6-8) to the clay, improving to 6-2 head to head.