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Yokozuna M. Dawaajargal wins his 45 th Emperor's cup

The Mongolian-born 35-year-old Hakuho Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal has broken many sumo records. He is the son of top ranked legend and Mongolia’s first Olympic medal wrestler Munkhbat. Hakuho has arrived in Japan at age of 15 to enter the sumo world and acquired Japanese citizenship in September 2019.

He has won a record 44 tournaments and holds sumo's highest rank of yokozuna, had been preparing for the 15-day New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, in Tokyo. On the last day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, 69th Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Hakuho M.Davaajargal came out victorious over his match against Ozeki Terunofuji G.Gan-Erdene, winning his 45th championship title with a perfect 15-0 record.

The two Mongolian-born powerhouses came into the final day neck and neck at 14-0, but it was M.Davaajargal who emerged victorious.

"I feel really great. My right knee was not acting as I wanted, but I just wanted to focus on this one bout," said Hakuho during an interview. "At this age, I didn't think I would win the tournament with a perfect record. I'm just relieved." M.Davaajargal missed last six tournaments in a row after having knee surgery in March.

Last month, Hakuhō claimed a record 42nd makuuchi title at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. However, he also drew criticism from the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) for leading the audience in an impromptu cheer in order to "rouse the crowd at the conclusion of the the last grand tournament of the Heisei era.

Despite the Mongolian’s historic successes, the JSA has refused to change the rule whereby elders must have Japanese citizenship. The association is run by sumo elders, retired wrestlers who left the dohyō (ring) and consider themselves as the true guardians of tradition.

The decision did upset Hakuhō because his father, Jigjidiin Mönkhbat, was a top-ranked legend in Mongolian wrestling who appeared at five Olympic Games, winning silver in 1968 to claim Mongolia's first Olympic medal.

Since making his professional debut in 2001, he has redefined sumo and shattered many of the sport's major records, including most career wins (1,120), most top-top division wins (1,026), and most undefeated championships (15).

The step to became Japanese citizenship is necessary for the 35-year-old yokozuna to remain active in the sport when he retires from the ring.

Hakuho holds a record 42 grand championship victories, making him one of the greatest wrestlers to step into the dohyo. He is the third foreign-born yokozuna to acquire Japanese citizenship, according to Kyodo News.

A number of wrestlers from overseas have risen to prominence in sumo. But the Japan Sumo Association requires stablemasters -- veterans who have retired from competition to mentor and train younger wrestlers -- to hold Japanese citizenship. Japan does not recognize dual nationality, so foreign nationals wishing to become Japanese must relinquish their original citizenship.

Hakuho is not the first Mongolian yokozuna. Asashoryu, who was born in Ulaanbaatar, became the sport's 68th yokozuna. However, he was dogged by allegations of bad behavior. In 2010 he was reported to have assaulted a restaurant employee while drunk. Those reports culminated in his retirement later that year.

If he makes the switch, Hakuho will become the highest ranked stable-master to come from Mongolia, according to Kyodo.

source: UB info

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