sumo wrestling

Hakuho, the most successful sumo wrestler in history, made it official Monday announcing to the Japan Sumo Association his decision to retire from the sport. Born Monkhbatyn Davaajargal in Mongolia, his father was an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. Moving to Japan at the age of 15 to begin training as a sumo, he joined the Miyagino stable of wrestlers and was given the ring name Hakuho.
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In an epic final day match-up of unbeatens, sumo legend Hakuho defeated fellow Mongolian Terunofuji in an intense battle to claim a record 45th title at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday in Japan. Both wrestlers had entered the bout with perfect 14-0 marks, one of the rare occasions the finals of a Grand Sumo Tournament featured two competitors with perfect records.

Hakuho came out of the blocks with an immediate forearm to Terunofuji's face followed by a slapping attack. After a belt grip, he secured an overhook on Terunofuji's right arm and finally forced him to the ground with an armlock throw to earn the championship.

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Continuing his epic comeback story, sumo wrestler Terunofuji won the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament Sunday in a playoff match against Takakeisho. It was the third time in the last four tournaments that the championship came down to these two wrestlers.

Terunofuji entered the final day of competition in Tokyo with a one win lead but was quickly put down by Takakeisho in the event's final scheduled bout leaving both men with 12-3 records to set up the playoff. The Mongolian wrestler returned the favor putting Takakeisho down to claim the fourth Emperor's Cup championship of his career. Terunofuji had been dropped from the sport's elite ranks in 2017 following a series of knee injuries and finally returned to ozeki status - sumo's second-highest level - after winning the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament in March. With a win at the upcoming July tournament, he may now have a chance to vault all the way to sumo's top rank of yokozuna.


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Japanese sumo wrestler Hibikiryu died at a Tokyo hospital Wednesday, a month after being injured and left unaided for a time following a match. Hibikiryu, whose real name is Mitsuki Amano, was a low-ranked wrestler competing at the March Grand Sumo Tournament when he was thrown and landed head first on the ground. He lay motionless, face down, as officials seemingly milled around and then had to wait several minutes before a stretcher arrived to take him from the arena.

The official cause of death was given as acute respiratory failure and it's so far unclear if it was directly related to Hibikiryu's injury. But the sport's governing body, the Japan Sumo Association, has faced several scandals in recent years and is now receiving severe criticism over a perceived failure to protect wrestlers.