Posted at 7:36 a.m., Sunday, July 8, 2007
Sumo: Hakuho wins in grand champion debut
Associated PressNAGOYA, Japan Mongolian Hakuho posted a win in his debut as grand champion today while compatriot and fellow yokozuna Asashoryu was upset on the first day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.
After forcing Tokitenku back to the edge, Hakuho got a left-hand grip on his opponent's belt and lifted the komusubi out to pick up his first win at sumo's highest rank.
Hakuho was promoted to grand champion in May, becoming the fourth non-Japanese to reach sumo's highest rank.
Hakuho, whose real name is Munkhbat Davaajargal, gained promotion after winning both the spring and summer tournaments this year.
The 22-year-old Hakuho is the 69th grand champion in sumo history and the first since fellow Mongolian Asashoryu was promoted after the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament in January 2003.
Today marked the first time in 22 tournaments that two grand champions were competing at the same meet.
Japan's ancient sport hasn't had a Japanese grand champion since Takanohana retired in January 2003.
Hakuho is one of eight Mongolian wrestlers competing in sumo's elite division.
In other major bouts, grand champion Asashoryu looked set for an opening day win but stepped out over the straw ridge after forcing komusubi Aminishiki to the edge of the ring.
Ozeki Kaio swatted down top maegashira Kotoshogiku after dodging to his side at the faceoff.
Ozeki Chiyotaikai used his trademark arm thrusts to open with a one-sided win over top maegashira Asasekiryu.
No. 2 maegashira Dejima used an arm throw at the edge of the ring to send Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu toppling off the raised ring.
Sekiwake Ama of Mongolia posted a win on the opening day when he sidestepped Takekaze at the edge of the ring and shoved the third-ranked maegashira out.
Sekiwake Kotomitsuki, who is bidding for promotion to ozeki, tripped up No. 2 maegashira Wakanosato to kick off his campaign on a winning note.