Hakuho basks in sumo glory ahead of homecoming journey

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AFP reports that,

TOKYO (AFP) — Mongolian grand champion Hakuho said Monday he would return home with confidence to show sumo to his country after proving himself to be at the top of the Japanese national sport.

Hakuho, who swept the 15-day summer tournament that closed Sunday with a perfect record, will join other wrestlers in sumo’s first-ever exhibition trip to Mongolia scheduled for late August.

“I can go home in the best way possible. I want to go home proud of myself,” he told reporters.

“I am more confident. I want to do my best so that I can win the next tournament as well,” he said.

Only two wrestlers currently hold the top title of “yokozuna,” or grand champion, and both are Mongolians — Hakuho and Asashoryu.

Hakuho, whose real name is Munkhbat Davaajargal, is known for his reserve and has been generally embraced by Japanese fans.

“I have come to realise the significance and responsibility that goes with the position” of yokozuna, Hakuko said.

Asashoryu has had a much more difficult time with the sumo establishment, which has accused him of being too brash for the ritual-heavy sport. Asashoryu pulled out of the summer tournament after a weak start, saying his elbow was injured.

Besides Asashoryu and Hakuho, only two foreigners, both Americans from Hawaii, have reached the title of yokozuna in the 2,000-year-old sport.

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