Photo/IllutrationYokozuna Hakuho secures a record-extending 39th career title by toppling fellow yokozuna Harumafuji on the final day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on July 23. (Minako Yoshimoto)

NAGOYA--Yokozuna Hakuho clinched his record-extending 39th career championship on July 23 with a 14-1 mark, overpowering fellow Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji in a hard-fought final bout of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament here.

With Hakuho’s win, Bulgarian wrestler Aoiyama’s hopes for a play-off with the yokozuna and his first-ever Emperor’s Cup vanished.

Aoiyama, a maegashira No. 8, was one win behind Hakuho heading into the final day of the tournament at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. He did his part, defeating komusubi Yoshikaze to finish with a 13-2 record. Aoiyama, a former wrestler, made his debut at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament in 2009.

Hakuho’s only loss came on the 11th day, to sekiwake Mitakeumi, but he remained nearly invincible throughout the other 14 days.

The Nagoya basho turned out to be a particularly memorable one for Hakuho, 32. He tied former ozeki Kaio, who is now the stablemaster Asakayama, for career wins at 1,047 on July 20. He broke the record the next day and now stands at 1,050 wins after his triumph on July 23.

Along with Hakuho's record-setting performance, there were disappointments among some of the other top sumo stars.

Japanese yokozuna Kisenosato withdrew on July 14 with an injured ankle, the second consecutive tournament he's been forced to pull out since being promoted to sumo's highest rank in March.

Yokozuna Kakuryu and ozeki Terunofuji, both from Mongolia, also dropped out of the tournament due to injuries.