Hakuho, Japan’s Most Decorated Sumo Wrestler, Retires at 36

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Hakuho, Japan’s Most Decorated Sumo Wrestler, Retires at 36

The most attained sumo wrestler in historical past is contacting it a profession at age 36.

Hakuho, a native of Mongolia who arrived to Japan to go after sumo at age 15, retires with much more best-level championships, or yusho, than any person in the sport’s heritage.

He gained his to start with title at the elite makuuchi degree in 2006. A 12 months later he gained the revered title of yokozuna, reserved for the biggest champions.

Hakuho went on to acquire at the very least 1 of the 6 yearly prime tournaments each individual calendar year considering that, and usually did better than that: In 2010 and 2014, he received 5 of 6. In 2015, he broke the record of 32 top rated-level wins set by Taiho in 1971. (Sumo’s historical past goes back again 1,000 yrs, but the sport’s match technique started in 1909.)

In current decades, however, Hakuho has struggled with a knee personal injury, and he analyzed beneficial for coronavirus in January, causing him to miss tournaments. He was warned by the sumo authorities that lacking so quite a few activities may well guide to forced retirement.

But he rolled back the many years in July in Nagoya, in his only tournament of the yr, to just take his 45th vocation title. In major tournaments, every single wrestler has a bout every single day for 15 times. Hakuho gained his closing celebration with a 15- history. It was his 16th “perfect victory,” as a match with no losses is known as, also a file.

Hakuho’s prowess and file are plain. But he at times ruffled feathers in his tradition-laden sport. In 2019, he urged the audience to clap right after a event. But for the reason that the formal ceremonies ended up not but about, this was seen as breach of etiquette, and he was admonished by the sumo authorities.

He has also been criticized for tough strategies, like too much slapping in the experience and supplying additional shoves just after a bout was about, as not long ago as his valedictory gain in July. He has also been faulted for a maneuver in which he sidesteps a charging opponent whose momentum then carries him out of the ring: a legal move, but 1 thought of not in the spirit of sumo, which values head-to-head confrontation.

“Being a yokozuna will come with larger duty, which includes performing as a function design,” Hironori Yano, the head of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, reported in 2019.

Hakuho, at 6 ft 4 inches and 350 kilos, is a big guy by most measures, but not monumental in sumo. His chief rival in current yrs, Terunofuji, weighs far more than 400 pounds.

Born Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal, like other wrestlers he was specified a one ring title: Hakuho suggests the White Peng, a big chicken of Japanese myth.

He was the most up-to-date good results tale from Mongolia, which has generated quite a few of the greatest sumo wrestlers of the century. A sport so intrinsic to Japan’s background and lifestyle underwent a seismic change in the 1990s when the first prosperous foreigners emerged, initial Hawaiians and then Mongolians.

“Before the tournament, I by no means anticipated to acquire the championship with a document of no defeats at this age I’m just relieved,” Hakuho mentioned after his victory in July. “But with this victory, I am emotion I can combat once again.”

But he missed the upcoming tournament, this thirty day period, right after many wrestlers in his secure tested favourable for the coronavirus. And age and accidents have eventually led him to simply call a halt to his occupation.