World's most titled sumo wrestler retired at 36

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World's most titled sumo wrestler retired at 36
World's most titled sumo wrestler retired at 36
28 September, 16:09SportPhoto: Boec.BG
In 20 years, Hakuho has won more top-tier championships than any other sumo wrestler in the sport's history. However, injuries and the coronavirus forced him out of the ring.

According to his physical parameters, Hakuho is a large person, but not too impressive for a sumo wrestler: he is 1 meter 92 centimeters tall, and weighs 158 kilograms. For example, his main rival in recent years, Terunofuji, weighs over 180 kilograms. Nevertheless, it was Hakuho, reminds The New York Times, who managed to become the record holder for the number of titles received.

Hakuo is a sumo pseudonym meaning White Phoenix. The real name of the athlete is Menkhbatyn Davajargal, he was born in Ulan Bator in the family of the famous Mongolian wrestler Zhigzhidiin Munkhbat, a 1968 Olympic medalist in freestyle wrestling. Sumo is a national treasure of Japan, but recently a global shift has taken place here too: in the 1990s, the Hawaiian champions appeared in the ring, and then the Mongols.

Menkhbatyn Davajargal came to Japan to study sumo at the age of 15, then he weighed a modest 62 kilograms, and no one paid attention to him. He won his first title in the major leagues, Makuuchi, in 2006, and a year later became yokozuna - the holder of the most honorable title for a sumo wrestler. Since then, Hakuho has won at least one of the six annual top tournaments every year, and in 2015, having won 32 times, broke the record for the most victories at the highest level since 1971.

Photo:Jiji Press/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In recent years, he has been hampered by a knee injury, and in January he missed several tournaments due to a positive covid test. This almost forced him to end his career earlier: in sumo, missing the competition threatens to be excommunicated from the sport. However, in July he played in Nagoya, his only tournament this year, and he won his 45th career title. In top-level tournaments, sumo wrestlers fight daily for 15 days. Hakuho won 15-0. It was his 16th “perfect win,” as sumo is called a no-lose tournament, and also a record for the sport.

“I don’t know why, but when I enter the ring, I turn into another Hakuho”, - the athlete admitted. - I think there are two Hakuho. Outside the ring, I'm much more polite". Despite his unconditional skill, he really did not always manage to adhere to etiquette and maintain correctness in relation to rivals, which is mandatory for yokozuna. He was criticized more than once for his rudeness - even during his farewell tournament in July, Hakuho could not resist slaps and jolts after the end of the fight. However, then he did not yet know that this was his last entry into the ring. But after several wrestlers around him gave positive tests, he was forced to miss the tournament again, and then announce his retirement, citing age and injuries.

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