The most skilled wrestlers in history call their careers at the age of 36.
Hakuho Sho, a Mongolian native who came to Japan to pursue sumo at the age of 15, will retire in the top-level championship, the runner-up, more than anyone else in sports history.
He won his first title at the Elite Makuuchi level in 2006. A year later, he won the respected title of Yokozuna reserved for the best champion.
Since then, Hakuho has won at least one of the six top tournaments each year, usually better than that. In 2010 and 2014, he won 5 out of 6 times. In 2015, he broke the record of 32 top-level victories set by Oho in 1971. (The history of sumo goes back 1,000 years, but the sports tournament system began in 1909.)
However, in recent years, Hakuho has suffered from a knee injury and was unable to participate in the tournament after a positive coronavirus test in January. He was warned by sumo officials that missing too many events could lead to forced retirement.
However, he rolled back several years in July at Nagoya, the only tournament of the year, and won his 45th career title. In top tournaments, each wrestler plays daily for 15 days. Hakuho won his last event with a record of 15-0. His 16th “perfect victory”, called an undefeated tournament, is also a record.
Hakuho’s skill and record cannot be denied. But he sometimes ruffled his wings in his traditional sport. In 2019, he urged the audience to applaud after the tournament. However, since the official ritual was not over yet, this was considered a violation of etiquette and he was warned by the sumo authorities.
He is also criticized Rough tacticsIncludes over-striking his face and extra sticking out after the match is over, as recently as his valedictorian win in July. He also failed in an operation to avoid a rushing enemy and drive him out of the ring with that momentum: a legitimate move, but not considered a sumo spirit, with a focus on direct confrontation. doing.
“Being a yokozuna entails greater responsibilities, including acting as a role model,” said Hironori Yano, representative of the Yokozuna Council, in 2019.
Hakuho, 6 feet 4 inches and 350 pounds, is a big man in most respects, but not huge in sumo. His main rival in recent years, Terunofuji, weighs over 400 pounds.
Born in Mönkhbatyn Davaajargal, he was given a single ring name, like any other wrestler. Hakuho means Hakuho, a giant bird in Japanese mythology.
He was the latest success story from Mongolia, which produced many of the best wrestlers of the century. The sport inherent in Japanese history and culture changed significantly in the 1990s with the advent of the first successful foreigners, first Hawaiians, and then Mongolians.
“Before the tournament, I didn’t expect to win the championship with an undefeated record at this age. Hakuho Sho said he was” relieved “after the July victory. “But with this victory, I feel I can fight again.”
However, he was unable to attend the next tournament this month after several wrestlers were tested positive for the coronavirus in his stables. And due to age and injury, he finally called for an end to his career.