A round-up of some of the weekend’s sport highlights as seen from Japan:
- Yokozuna Hakuho, fighting for the first time since last July, opened the spring basho with a narrow win Sunday against January’s champion, komusubi Daieisho. With Hakuho not the dominating presence he once was, and no clear claimant to his throne, sumo continues to be a free-for-all with surprise champions now the norm, writes John Gunning in his look ahead at what to expect from the tournament.
- The Kawasaki Brave Thunders captured their first Emperor’s Cup title in seven years Saturday, clinching a 76-60 win over the Utsunomiya Brex in the All-Japan Championship men’s final in Saitama. But it’s the way in which they did it that will surely serve as a confidence builder toward their ultimate goal, writes Kaz Nagatsuka — winning the B. League.
- Hiroto Kyoguchi retained his World Boxing Association light flyweight title for the third time Saturday after defeating Mexican challenger Axel Aragon Vega in a fifth-round technical knockout in his first match in the U.S. Kyoguchi, the 27-year-old super champion, extended his perfect career record to 15 wins — including 10 by knockout.
- Japanese players swept the singles events at the inaugural World Table Tennis Star Contender tournament in Doha on Saturday, with Mima Ito winning the women’s title before Tomokazu Harimoto, 17, claimed the men’s crown. World No. 2 Ito and No. 5 Harimoto were the highest-ranked competitors in their draws as Chinese players stayed home because of concerns about COVID-19.
- Yuto Totsuka won his maiden halfpipe world title Saturday following an incredible final run at the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski World Championships in Aspen. With the victory, the 19-year-old denied Australia’s Scotty James a record fourth straight world title and underlined his status as the man to beat in the run-up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.