Photo/Illutration Yokozuna Terunofuji drives ozeki Mitakeumi out of the ring while gripping his belt during the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on May 22. (Jin Nishioka)

Although not in top form at the start of Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, sole yokozuna Terunofuji managed to stay within reach of the Emperor’s Cup and chalked up another victory May 22 to extend his career title to seven.

Terunofuji easily forced out ozeki Mitakeumi in the final bout of the 15-day tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, finishing up with a 12-3 record.

Prior to the grand champion’s battle, his rival in the title race, Takanosho, maegashira No. 4, lost to Sadanoumi, maegashira No. 12, wrapping up the tourney with a 11-4 record.

After 14 days of action, Terunofuji and Takanosho were the two frontrunners for the Emperor’s Cup.

Sadanoumi and komusubi Daieisho still had a chance at the title hunt as they were just one win behind them.

But Terunofuji did not give them the opportunity for a playoff.

The Mongolian wrestler was under the weather in the first half and already had three losses by Day 8. He sat out the previous meet due to knee injuries.

But Terunofuji avoided further losses and caught up with Takanosho on Day 13, when he fell as solo leader with three losses.

“This tournament felt longer than usual,” Terunofuji said in an interview after receiving the Emperor’s Cup. “I was fighting every bout with determination, thinking that as long as I am the grand champion, I must always perform very well.”

It was his first title in three basho.