Kakuryu Wins Fourth Career Title At Spring Grand Tournament

Following his fourth championship victory, Yokozuna Kakuryu said Monday he is relieved to have pulled off the victory despite suffering from a right-hand injury he sustained two months ago.

A day after the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament concluded at Edion Arena Osaka, Kakuryu expressed his emotions to the press in the customary morning-after press conference.

“I’ve never felt so good waking up in the morning,” Kakuryu said with a laugh on Monday. “Seeing my child’s face (yesterday) was the greatest feeling ever.”

After injuring fingers on his right hand on the January basho’s finals, the Mongolian was on the fence about competing at the March tournament until the last minute.

“I didn’t have winning the championship in mind,” he said. “Around the seventh day (of the tournament) I caught them on something somehow and they got even worse.”

After Hakuho and Kisenosato withdrew due to injuries, Kakuryu finished the 15-day tournament as the lone Yokozuna. Even with that added pressure, Kakuryu would finish with a 13-2 record, with an 11-bout winning streak that was stopped by January’s champion, sekiwake Tochinoshin.

The Mongolian yokozuna even mentioned if he plans of becoming a sumo elder upon retirement, a position that requires Japanese citizenship and is a prerequisite to becoming a stablemaster.

“It’s not easy to become an elder. There are so many things one has to do,” Kakuryu said. “Whether or not I can do all those things is part of the decision I want to make.”

 

Original Story: Japan Times

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