Harumafuji Wins Emperor’s Cup!

The Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo was shaping up to be just another predictable romp by the two Mongolian yokozuna, Hakuho and Asashoryu, until the 14th day, when the Bulgarian ozeki, Kotooshu, toppled Hakuho, knocking him out of the lead and into a tie with the recently promoted Mongolian ozeki, Harumafuji (formerly Ama), at 13-1 going into the last day.

On the final day, the diminutive Harumafuji returned the favor by defeating Kotooshu, while Hakuho defeated his fellow yokozuna Asashoryu, leaving both leaders tied with records of 14-1. Harumafuji then defeated Hakuho in the final playoff bout to win his first Emperor’s Cup.

Mongolians now dominate Japan’s ancient sport, and Harumafuji is the latest to win a tournament. Hakuho has won 10 and Asashoryu has won 23. No Japanese rikishi has won the Emperor’s Cup since veteran ozeki Tochiazuma took it in January 2006. There are now nine Mongolian rikishi in the top Makuuchi division and four more in the Juryo division, plus six more foreign rikishi in the top division: one each from Bulgaria, Estonia, Russia, and South Korea; and two from Georgia.

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2 Comments

Filed under Japan, Mongolia, sumo

2 responses to “Harumafuji Wins Emperor’s Cup!

  1. Was so pumped to see Harumafuji win! He’s been my favorite wrestler since the first day I started watching sumo 2-3 years ago. He trashed both yokozuna this tournament, and although he lost to Hakuho earlier in the week, he didn’t go without a fight!

    Of course its too early to talk seriously about promotion to yokozuna, but I hope he wins the next tournament too.

  2. Yes. He’s got the never-say-die spirit of a Mainoumi or Terao, two of my favorites from a few years back, but with better skills.

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