Thursday , January 18 2018

Hakuho wins tournament as scandal rocks national sport – Grand champ extends career title to 40

TOKYO, Nov 25, (AFP): Mongolian grand champion Hakuho won the latest sumo tournament on Saturday as Japan’s national sport continued to draw media attention after another top wrestler faced a police probe into an alleged assault.

Yokozuna — or grand champion — Hakuho easily shoved Endo onto the ring at Fukuoka Kokusai Center to secure a record-extending 40th career championship.

He won the 15-day tournament at 13-1 by Saturday with one day remaining as his closest contenders were all defeated at 11-3 before his bout on the day.

“I’m relieved to achieve (the 40th victory),” Hakuho told reporters without commenting on the scandal.

The historic victory came as local headlines featured his fellow Mongolian yokozuna Harumafuji, who is alleged to have repeatedly hit a junior wrestler also from Mongolia.

According to several media reports, Harumafuji flew into a rage when the junior wrestler tried to take out his phone to take a call during a conversation.

The 33-year-old may have to step down from his lofty position if charged.

The alleged assault, which emerged just before the tournament began, took place last month as Mongolian wrestlers were relaxing over drinks after a tournament.

Police will reportedly question Harumafuji again next week following their initial interrogation of him last week and are separately planning to hear from Hakuho, who witnessed the assault.

Around 10 people, including Hakuho and other Mongolian and Japanese sumo wrestlers, were at the drinking session, according to reports.

The ancient sport has an extremely strict protocol and yokozuna are expected to be beyond moral reproach in addition to showing superior strength and technique in the ring.

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