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Sumo: Grand champion Hakuho wins Autumn meet with perfect record

Mongolian grand champion Hakuho holds the Emperor's Cup on Sept. 23 after winning the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo with a perfect 15-0 record.(Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A day after securing his record-extending 41st championship, Mongolian grand champion Hakuho closed the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record on Sunday.

By winning a yokozuna clash against fellow Mongolian Kakuryu, Hakuho claimed the Emperor's Cup with a spotless record for a record-extending 14th time. It was Hakuho's first championship in a year that has seen him struggle with injuries.

"I feel like the god of sumo smiled at me for the first time in a while. It feels amazing," Hakuho said. "I suffered injuries this year, and my father passed away. So I felt lonely at times but I think I can finally deliver good news to him."

"I wasn't 100 percent until right before the tournament, but I'm glad I was able to make it in time," the 33-year-old said. "I think dealing with injuries will be a key to my sumo career."

In the day's final bout, the two wrestlers in sumo's highest rank held each other's belts with both hands. Kakuryu first charged Hakuho toward the edge, but Hakuho survived the scare, turned around and pushed him out of the ring.

Kakuryu, who won back-to-back championships earlier this year, and Japanese yokozuna Kisenosato each finished this meet with a 10-5 record.

Kisenosato closed the meet with a loss to ozeki Goeido (12-3). Kisenosato was digging to get a hold of Goeido's belt with his left hand, but the ozeki pinned the yokozuna's left hand under his armpit and shoved him down.

Kisenosato completed a full tournament for the first time since the 2017 March tournament, where he won the Emperor's Cup on his yokozuna debut. The yokozuna was fighting for his career after withdrawing from a record eight-straight grand tournaments due to a left chest muscle injury.

Tochinoshin (9-6) won an ozeki clash against Takayasu (11-4).

Mitakeumi finished with a 9-6 record following his win over No. 4 maegashira Abi (6-9). The sekiwake resisted Abi's vicious slaps to the face, chased the maegashira toward the edge and pushed him down from behind.

Mitakeumi had been on course for promotion to ozeki, the sport's second-highest rank, after winning the July tournament, but those chances disappeared after he suffered five straight defeats here.

None of the three special prizes typically announced on the final day were awarded. These are the Outstanding Performance prize, the Fighting Spirit prize and the Technique prize. It is the first time no winners were selected in the system that began with the 1947 Autumn tournament.

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