If the story going into this November Basho tournament was Mongolian Hakuho vs. Japanese superstar Kisenosato for the future as sumo apex champion, then the story at the end was quite different. But not all that unfamiliar.
Hakuho won his 40th Basho on Sunday dominating the field with a 14-1 record. Kisenosato on the other hand pulled out of the tournament on the tenth day, after only getting four wins. Kisenosato will have to complete the entire tournament in January with a winning record, or he will likely be forced to retire.
With all the three other Yokozuna pulled out by the final day, the ultimate match on day fifteen was between Hakuho and Ozeki Goeido. It was basically without consequence, as Hakuho’s dominant record had already secured the tournament victory.
Another victory to cap off another tournament win for the most dominant sumo wrestler to ever live.
Most interestingly, Hakuho commented on the biggest story in Sumo, Yokozuna Harumafuji’s assault case. In the interview below, Hakuho apologizes for the stain the assault has cast on the sport but he also expressed his support for his fellow Yokozuna, which was a ballsy move.
Time will tell how the all powerful Sumo Association will deal with the punishment of Harumafuji. The entire month of December will likely be consumed with Japanese commentators discussing potential punishments for the Yokozuna which will probably come just before the new year.
Of course, Harumafuji is being accused of assaulting fellow Mongolian wrestler Takanoiwa. Details are still emerging, but the conflicting reports have been amazing. Some people are claiming that Yokozuna Harumafuji was hammered drunk and attacked Takanoiwa with a beer bottle, ice pack, and ash tray.
It seems like the Yokozuna was angered when he heard that Takanoiwa was talking poorly about the current class of Yokozuna and claiming their time was almost over. A drunk Harumafuji took offense and decided to dress him down when he saw him at the bar. Takanoiwa then reportedly decided to look at his cell phone while the Yokozuna was yelling at him. This was a step too far for the drunk Harumafuji, and he decide to beat the junior sumo’s ass.
Now the severity of that beating is the only matter of debate, and whether Harumafuji used any weapons.
But all of this is just background noise as the greatest Yokozuna of all time continues to the most dominant run the sport has ever seen.