Photo/IllutrationYokozuna Kakuryu, left, receives the Emperor’s Cup after winning the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament at Dolphins Arena in Nagoya on July 21. (Jun Ueda)

  • Photo/Illustraion

NAGOYA--Yokozuna Kakuryu dispatched rival yokozuna Hakuho to win the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament here on July 21, capturing his sixth career title and first since May 2018.

The 33-year-old Mongolian forced Hakuho, also a Mongolian, out of the dohyo in a tough fight on the final day of the 15-day tourney to avoid a playoff for the championship.

Kakuryu recorded an impressive 14 wins against one loss. Hakuho finished with 12 wins and three losses.

The tournament, held in Dolphins Arena, was close from the first day.

Kakuryu, who is 186 centimeters tall and weighs 161 kilograms, matched wins from Day 1 to Day 8 along with Hakuho.

Ozeki Takayasu remained one back with a loss on Day 2.

On Day 9, Hakuho fell to No. 4 maegashira Ichinojo, giving the unbeaten Kakuryu the sole lead. Takayasu also lost to No. 3 maegashira Shodai on Day 9, marking his second loss.

Kakuryu continued to win until Day 12, the first time the yokozuna has won 12 consecutive bouts from Day 1. On Day 13, however, Kakuryu was upset by No. 7 maegashira Tomokaze, marking his first loss.

Hakuho kept up the pressure, winning from Day 10 to Day 13. However, Hakuho lost to No. 5 maegashira Kotoshogiku on Day 14, making his second loss.

Meanwhile, Takayasu was forced to withdraw from the tournament on Day 11 due to injuries he suffered to his left elbow on Day 8.

Three other ozeki Takakeisho, Tochinoshin and Goeido also withdrew from the tournament on Day 1, Day 6 and Day 8, respectively, due to injuries.

Takakeisho, who was promoted to ozeki in the previous tournament held in May, will be demoted to sekiwake, the third-highest rank, in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo in September.

According to a rule, an ozeki is demoted from the second-highest rank if the number of his losses, including days absent, is larger than the number of his wins in two consecutive tournaments.

In the May tournament, Takakeisho withdrew from Day 5. Though he returned to the tournament on Day 8, he was forced to withdraw again on Day 9. As a result, he recorded only three wins.

If he obtains 10 or more wins in the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament, however, he will be able to return to ozeki in the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament in November.

Meanwhile, No. 1 maegashira Asanoyama, who won the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo in May, ended the July tournament with seven wins and eight losses.